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Announcing the 2020 Banff Retreat Writers in Residence

We are happy to announce the Writers in Residence for our annual Banff Retreat, February 14 – 23, 2020 at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Ali Bryan and Louise Halfe will be joining us at Banff Centre to provide manuscript consultations, advice about the writing life, and group activities.

Ali Bryan is an award-winning novelist and creative nonfiction writer based in Calgary, Canada. Her first novel Roost (Freehand, 2013) won the Alberta Literary Awards Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia 2014. Her second novel, The Figgs, was released in May 2018 and was short-listed for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. She twice long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction prize for her essays “Asshole Homemaker” and “Mints After The Meal.” “Mints After The Meal” was also shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Awards Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award in 2015. “Let’s Talk” was nominated for the same prize in 2016. She is a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards 2018 Emerging Artist recipient. Her debut YA novel, The Hill, a near-future feminist coming-of-age adventure set on a reclaimed garbage dump that explores, gender, power, the female experience, friendship and what it really means to be a girl, will be published by Dottir Press in the fall of 2020.

Louise Bernice Halfe was born in Two Hills, Alberta. Her Cree name is Sky Dancer. She was raised on the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School.

Halfe’s first published poetry appeared in Writing the Circle: Women of Western Canada. She has since published four collections. Bear Bones & Feathers was published in 1994. It received the Canadian People’s Poet Award and was a finalist for the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award. Blue Marrow was published in 1998 and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, Pat Lowther Award, and Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award. The Crooked Good was published in 2007.

Her most recent collection, Burning in this Midnight Dream, was published in 2016 and details Halfe’s personal response to the Truth and Reconciliation process and how the experiences of residential school children continue to haunt those who survive, and how the effects are passed down for generations. The book won three Saskatchewan Book Awards and the League of Canadian Poets Raymond Souster Award.

Halfe has served as poet laureate of Saskatchewan and is widely recognized for weaving Cree language and teachings into her works. A collection of Halfe’s work, Sohkeyihta, containing poems written across the expanse of her career, was published by Wilfrid Laurier Press in 2018.

Halfe has a Bachelor of Social Work, and received a Honorary Degree of Letters from Wilfrid Laurier University, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Saskatchewan. She currently works with Elders in an organization called Opikinawasowin (“raising our children”). Halfe lives outside of Saskatoon with her husband.

The retreat is sold out, but please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to be added to the waiting list. More information is available on our retreat page.

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