2024 WGA Mentorship Program
Meet the Participants!
The WGA is thrilled to announce the participants for the 2024 Mentorship Program!
In January 2024, fourteen Alberta writers will begin their participation in the WGA’s annual mentorship program. 2024 marks the thirteenth year of 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:
- Ann Sutherland —Fiction matched with Barb Howard
- Chad Neufeld —Pilot (TV script) matched with AJ Devlin
- Juleus Ghunta —Poetry matched with Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike
- Dianne Koebel-Pede —YA Fiction (Mary Bell Scholarship) matched with Gail Anderson-Dargatz
- Margaret McKeon —Memoir matched with Matthew Stepanic
- Megan Stobbe—Poetry matched with Peter Midgley
- Miji Campbell—Fiction matched with Ali Bryan
The mentorship program runs for four months. An in-person celebration of this program, complete with the emerging writers reading from their work, will be held in May.
Congratulations and good wishes to all the participants!
2024 Mentorship Participants
Ann Sutherland lives and writes in Edmonton. Her creative non-fiction and YA short stories have been featured in various anthologies. Her most recent piece, November, is included in Edmonton Public Library’s Capital City Press anthology. In addition to having pieces produced for national radio, her poems and flash fiction have appeared in online journals and more in unconventional places – from transit buses to beer cans.
Barb Howard is the author of 4 novels and a short story collection. She is a recipient of the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story and the Canadian Authors Association’s Exporting Alberta Award, and her work has been shortlisted for the Ross Annett Award, the Henry Kreisel Award, and the High Plains Book Award. Her most recent book, the novella Happy Sands, was published by The University of Calgary Press and was shortlisted for the 2022 Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year. Barb was the 2013 Author in Residence for the Calgary Public Library.
Chad Neufeld: “The very first thing I remember wanting to do for a living was to write beer commercials. This was around the time of the brilliantly mindless Budweiser ‘Wassup’ ads and the nationalistic propaganda of Molson’s ‘I Am Canadian’ campaign. I was almost a decade away from drinking beer, but something in my pre-teen brain figured that ‘writer’ was unattainable as a profession, but that ‘copywriter’ might be doable. So I did that. Almost. My ad writing has mostly been (and continues to be) for software. But every day I wake up and I go into the office a bit early and I write something, and I try to make it funny or beautiful or scary, or some combination of those things. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to time travel back to that kid setting his sights as high as ‘beer commercial writer,’ say ‘wassup,’ and tell him to aim a little bit higher.”
A.J. Devlin grew up in Greater Vancouver before moving to Southern California where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from Chapman University and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute Conservatory. After working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he moved back home to Port Moody, BC, where he now lives with his family.
Cobra Clutch, the first book in the “Hammerhead” Jed pro-wrestler PI mystery-comedy series, was released in spring 2018 and nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery and won the 2019 Crime Writers Of Canada Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.
The highly acclaimed sequel, Rolling Thunder, was released in spring 2020 and featured in the Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Globe and Mail, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal Reviews, Mystery Tribune Magazine, CrimeFictionLover.com, 49thShelf.com, and CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter.
For more information on A.J. and his books, please visit ajdevlin.com.
Juleus Ghunta is a Chevening Scholar, poet and children’s writer. His poems have appeared in The Missing Slate, Poetry Archive, Moko, Wasafiri, Anomaly, Chiron Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and other journals. Ghunta won a Poetry Archive Worldview Prize in 2023, the Catherine James Poetry Prize in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize in 2022 and the Small Axe Poetry Prize in 2015 and 2016. His picture book Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows was published by CaribbeanReads in 2021.
Dianne Koebel-Pede is a former educator in grades K- 12. Learning continues to be a priority for her and she has completed three classes through the University of Toronto Creative Writing Program. Prior writing work includes magazine articles, editing, work for hire, and children’s book reviewer for the Edmonton Journal. She is an active member of CANSCAIP, SCBWI, WGA, three writing critique groups, and Friends of the Library in her hometown of Edson. Three of her picture book manuscripts have been longlisted in the CANSCAIP Writing for Children Competition. Her picture book, My Soccer Season: A Keepsake to Treasure, was published in November of 2023. She is currently working on a YA coming-of-age, portal fantasy.
Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s literary novels The Cure for Death by Lightning and A Recipe for Bees were both short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her thrillers The Almost Wife and The Almost Widow were both national bestsellers. Gail also writes hi-lo books for the educational market. She taught for nearly a decade in the CW MFA program at UBC and now offers editing andmentoring services. For more, go to: www.gailanderson-dargatz.ca
Photo credit: Vita Anderson-Dargatz
Margaret McKeon (she/her) is a writer, hiking guide, and educator. Her work has been published in literary journals, academic journals, and book collections. She co-edited Language, Land and Belonging: Poetic Inquiries, a collection of poems and essays published by Vernon Press in 2023. She holds a PhD in Language and Literacy Education from the University of British Columbia, where, as a settler person of Irish and German ancestry, she researched land relationships, ancestral knowledge and colonialism. She lives with her partner surrounded by mountains and rivers in Canmore, Alberta in Treaty 7 Territory.
Matthew Stepanic is a queer writer who lives and works on Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton. He hosts VERS/E, a monthly queer poetry open mic at Felice Cafe. He co-founded Glass Bookshop, is a co-author of Project Compass (Monto Books, 2017), and is the author of Relying on that Body (Glass Buffalo, 2018), a poetry chapbook about RuPaul’s Drag Race. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Queer Little Nightmares (Arsenal Pulp, 2022), FreeFall, Plenitude, CV2, and others.
Megan Stobbe (she/her) is a poet, communicator and mom living in Edmonton, Alberta. She is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Alberta, an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets and her work has appeared recently with Capital City Press and the LCP’s Fresh Voices publication. When she’s not reading or writing, Megan can often be found in her garden or exploring Edmonton’s spectacular river valley.
Peter Midgley is a writer and editor from Edmonton. Over the course of thirty years, he has worked as freelance editor, festival director, university lecturer, managing editor, acquisitions editor, clerk of court, bartender, actor, janitor, and door-to-door salesman. This experience has given him enough material for more than a dozen books. His latest book, let us not think of them as barbarians (NeWest Press), was shortlisted for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award in 2019.
Miji Campbell is a writer and teacher. Her memoir Separation Anxiety: A Coming of Middle Age Story was her first book and winner of the 2016 Whistler Independent Book Award for Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in anthologies and magazines. Miji is currently writing historical fiction.
Born and raised in Calgary, Miji lives in Red Deer. Visit her at www.writewhereyouare.ca
Ali Bryan is a novelist and creative nonfiction writer who explores the what-ifs, the wtfs and the wait-a-minutes of every day. Her work has been shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, longlisted for both the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing prize, and has been optioned for TV by Sony Pictures. Recent novels include: Coq and The Crow Valley Karaoke Championships. Her sixth novel, Takedown, is forthcoming from DCB (spring 2024). Born in Halifax, she now lives in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies on Treaty 7 Territory.
Thank you to our donors and funders!
The WGA gratefully acknowledges the support of the RBC Foundation Emerging Artists Fund, Mary Bell Memorial Fund, Sharon L. Henderson Endowment for Young and Emerging Writers, John Patrick Gillese Fund, and W.O. Mitchell Scholarship Fund