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2023 WGA Mentorship Program Participants Announced

Meet the Participants!

The WGA is thrilled to announce the participants for the 2023 Mentorship Program!

In January 2023, fourteen Alberta writers will begin their participation in the WGA’s annual mentorship program. 2023 marks the twelfth year for the program, which pairs emerging writers with established Alberta authors to develop the emerging writer’s literary work, and also to provide support and encouragement. This program has seen many of its participants grow and succeed as published authors.

This year’s participants are:

    • Tracy Fox will work with mentor Lee Kvern (Tracy Fox is this year’s Mary Bell Scholarship recipient)
    • Alexander Shay (Levi Hayes) will work with mentor C.J. Lavigne (Levi’s participation was supported by the Sharon L. Henderson Award for Young and Emerging Writers)
    • Falon Fayant will work with mentor Darcy Tamayose
    • Saraswoti Lamichhane will work with mentor Jenna Butler
    • Felicia Zuniga will work with mentor Kat Cameron
    • Katherine Abbass will work with mentor Micheline Maylor
    • Anna Shannon will work with mentor Theresa Shea

    The mentorship program runs for four months. A virtual celebration of this program, complete with the emerging writers reading from their work, will be held in the spring.

    Congratulations and all good wishes to all the participants!

    2023 Mentorship Participants

    Click the tabs to read about this year’ participants!


    Tracy Fox writes young adult dark fantasy, and explores the experience of growing up in Calgary in the 1970’s and 80’s through creative nonfiction. The two just might be related. She lives in Calgary with her husband, a ridiculous golden retriever puppy, and a complicated orange tabby.

    (Tracy Fox is this year’s Mary Bell Scholarship recipient)

    Lee Kvern is a Canadian author of short stories and novels. Her stories in 7 Ways to Sunday have garnered numerous literary awards including the CBC Literary Prize. Afterall was selected for regional Canada Reads and nominated for the Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for the Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. She is a Lush Triumphant finalist and recent Best of the Net nominee. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, and been published in various literary magazines across Canada and the US. She currently finished her fourth novel, Catch You on the Flipside, an international thriller.

    Alexander Shay (he/they) is a transgender writer with a goal to join other authors in breaking 2SLGBTQ+ from the confines of the “coming out” narrative as the only queer narrative. He also explores darker themes and characters from an empathetic standpoint; there are no ‘villains’ in his stories, only antagonists. His publications include stories and poetry in the Bolo Tie Collective, Lida Literary, and Capital City Press, and he won the 2021 Dr. MacEwan Literary Arts Scholarship. Alex also heads YEGWrites Press, which released its inaugural anthology in October 2021. When not procrastinating on writing projects by reading (read: “researching”), he spends his time trying to appease his mischievous cat, Hermione. 

    Alexander’s participation was supported by the Sharon L. Henderson Award for Young and Emerging Writers)

    C. J. Lavigne is a speculative fiction writer in Red Deer. Her urban fantasy novel In Veritas (NeWest Press, 2020) was a Crawford Award finalist and the BPAA Speculative Fiction Book of the Year; her short story “Cenotaph” (Augur Magazine, 2021) was a finalist in the Alberta Literary Awards. Her short fiction has additionally been published in OnSpecFusion FragmentDaily Science FictionPodCastle, and other venues. She has more than 10 years’ experience as a professional editor and 15 years as a communications scholar with a variety of nonfiction publications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a master’s in English, and a Ph.D. in communications studies.

    Falon Fayant is a Métis writer from Redwater, Alberta. She lives with her partner, their four children, two dogs, and as many books as she can fit inside the house. In March 2022, ECW Press chose her young adult fantasy novel, Shadow of the Moon, for the shortlist of their Best New Speculative Fiction Contest. Shadow of the Moon also made the shortlist for the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers Writing for Children Competition in 2017. Her creative non-fiction essay “Sometimes I’m Afraid” appeared on the shortlist for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award in 2019. As well in 2019, Falon placed first in the 2nd annual Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Mothers Who Write. She is working on her Creative Writing Certificate from the University of Calgary Continuing Education program.

    Darcy Tamayose is a writer, graphic designer, and PhD student. Her short story collection, Ezra’s Ghosts (NeWest Press), was a finalist for the 2022 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; novel, Odori (Cormorant Books), received the Canada-Japan Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Alberta Writers’ Guild Georges Bugnet Award; and her youth fiction book, Katie Be Quiet (Coteau Books), was a finalist for the Foreword Indie Juvenile Award. Born and raised in the prairie landscape of southern Alberta, Tamayose lives there today surrounded by daughter, family, and friends.

    Saraswoti Lamichhane is a life celebrator who honours the earth. Her work is influenced by landscape and life. She is a co-author of Six String : A Joint Anthology of Poems and her work appears in various anthologies including Of Nepaleae Clay, Stroll of Poets, and Outlying Voices along with journals in the USA, Canada, UK, India and Nepal. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Tribhuvan University and a Masters degree from Pokhara University. Sara is currently a student for a certificate in Creative Writing Program with University of Toronto. She has lived in Nepal, Toronto and now calls St. Albert, Alberta home.

    Dr. Jenna Butler (she/her) is an award-winning poet, essayist, and editor. She is the author of three books of poetry, Seldom Seen Road, Wells, and Aphelion; a collection of ecological essays, A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail; and the Arctic travelogue Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard. Her newest book, Revery: A Year of Bees, essays about beekeeping, climate grief, and trauma recovery, was a finalist for the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award in Non-Fiction. Butler is a retired professor of creative and environmental writing and an off-grid organic farmer in northern Treaty 6.

    Felicia Zuniga is a poet, freelance writer, communication director, mom and wife. Felicia works full-time in communications. She is also a senior contributor to Birthing Magazine, where she has a regular column called #realmomtalk. Felicia freelances for a variety of newspapers and magazines. She has published 45+ articles, as well as over a dozen poems, in literary publications across the country. Her work can be viewed on her website at Felicia has a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours English, with a Creative Writing Concentration, from the University of Calgary. When she isn’t working or writing, you’ll find Felicia spending time with family and friends, spinning on her Peloton, volunteering with the Cure Cancer Foundation or planning her next vacation. Felicia is a born and raised Calgarian and lives in Calgary with her husband and two young sons. 






    Kat Cameron’s second poetry collection, Ghosts Still Linger (University of Alberta Press, 2020), won the High Plains Book Award for poetry in 2021 and was a finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award. Her collection of short stories, The Eater of Dreams (Thistledown Press, 2019), was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. She has published poems, short stories, and reviews in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently in Geist, Literary Review of Canada, Prairie Fire, and Vallum. She lives on Treaty 6 territory and teaches creative writing at Concordia University of Edmonton.

    Katherine Abbass (she/her) is a writer whose work has appeared in a number of literary magazines, including RoomRiddle Fence, and Funicular. She currently resides with her dog, Angelou, on Treaty 6 territory.

    Dr. Micheline Maylor is a Poet Laureate Emerita of Calgary (2016-18). Her most recent book, The Bad Wife (U of A Press 2021), won the BPAA Raymond Souster Award for best Canadian book of poetry and was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch award for experimental poetry. She is a Walrus talker, a TEDX talker, and she was the Calgary Public Library Author in Residence (2016). She won the Lois Hole Award for Editorial excellence for poetry in Alberta (2019). Micheline attained a Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in English Language and Literature with a specialisation in Creative Writing and 20th Century Canadian Poetics. She is retired from teaching creative writing at Mount Royal University in Calgary where she won the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award, the 2018 Distinguished Faculty Award. She has served as executive acquisitions editor for poetry at Frontenac House Press since 2012. She is the co-founder of Freefall Literary Society and remains as senior poetry and reviews editor. Her work has been translated into Farsi, Chinese, and Italian.

    Anna Shannon (she/her) is a writer with publications in Book of Matches, Existere Journal of Arts & LiteratureNōD, Past Ten, Regulus Press, Remington Review and The Coachella Review. In addition to short prose, she is writing a novel about a female photographer’s adventures in post-confederation Canada. She holds credentials in psychology and professional writing from the University of Calgary and lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. To learn more, visit

    Theresa Shea has published two novels. The Unfinished Child (2013) was a finalist for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, and her most recent novel, The Shade Tree (2021)won the Guernica Prize and is a finalist for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. She lives in Edmonton and is at work on her next novel, Dog Days of Planet Earth.

    Our Gratitude

    Thank you to our donors and funders!

    The WGA gratefully acknowledges the support of the RBC Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Government of Alberta, City of Edmonton, City of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development, Edmonton Arts Council, the John Gillese Fund and the Sharon Lynne Henderson Memorial Fund at Edmonton Community Foundation

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