Borderlines Writers Circle


Borderlines Writers Circle

The Borderlines Writers Circle is an intercultural initiative which aims to serve multilingual, multicultural writers who live in Edmonton. The program is designed to yield new literary works in English, thoughtful exploration of the Immigrant experience, dialogue that celebrates our diversity and contributes to a deeper understanding of one another, and engagement with contemporary issues around the world. Throughout the program writers produce literature in English, participate in workshops, and share their experience and creative works through public events, class visits, and podcasts.

I am particularly attracted to its mentoring program… The writer’s community and the mentorship are not usually available to people who write in English as a second language. The Borderlines Writers Circle is therefore a great facilitator for the productivity of ESL writers. In addition, I see the Borderlines Writers Circle as a great contribution to the literary and cultural diversity of Alberta and Canada.”

—Leilei Chen, 2017

The program was great. It provided lots of great opportunities, valuable insight and lots of useful information. I particularly enjoyed the mentorship part as I feel I gained a lot from it, and it exceeded my (quite high) expectations. Frequency of the meetings was perfect; podcasts were a lot of fun. Speaking at the U of A class was also a fun experience. Overall—I’m very happy I got to be part of this program. I really appreciate everything I got from it and really hope to give something back to the community from the knowledge and experienced that I gained.”


Read about 2017 Borderlines Participants here!

Photos from the 2016 Borderlines Writers Circle Readings

Read about 2016 Borderlines Participants here!

Read about 2015 Borderlines Participants here!

Read about 2013/14 Borderlines Participants here!

Read about 2012 Borderlines Participants here!

About Borderlines


A significant aim of the program is to introduce the participants to the local writing community. To this end, participants are paired with a local writer for friendship and mentorship, and opportunities to publicly showcase participants’ writing are planned in collaboration with organizations such as Litfest and Edmonton Public Library. A second aim of the program is to provide a space for the participants to explore and discuss issues unique to their experience as literary artists in an adopted culture and language. In addition to meeting with mentors, participants meet, on average, once a month for workshops, group critique or to address other needs of the group.

Application/Selection Process

The call for applications goes out in June, interviews are held in July, with a program start the following September. Applicants must have a portfolio of writing, a current writing project, and are newcomers to the Canadian writing community or have faced cultural and/or linguistic barriers to becoming part of it. An applicant must be a Canadian citizen, refugee or landed immigrant, living in or around Edmonton. The program accepts six applicants.

Length of Program

The program runs from September to March.


The mentorship portion of the program attempts to meet the unique needs of individual participants. Mentorship may involve having conversations about literature over coffee, reading and editing work the participant has translated into English, reading and making suggestions on work written in English, or introducing the participant to specialized communities such as playwriting circles, poetry or prose reading series, etc.  Mentors commit to 15 hours of paid work. A call for mentor applications goes out in May.

Click here to read the Borderlines Blog

2019 Calgary Borderlines Participants

The Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, in partnership with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and with support from the Calgary Foundation, is pleased to announce the 2019 Borderlines Writers Circle Calgary.

The Borderlines Writers Circle is an initiative that aims to serve writers from a variety of linguist and cultural backgrounds who live in Calgary and are not yet connected to the local writing community. The program is designed to yield new literary works, explore the immigrant experience, and initiate dialogue that celebrates our diversity and contributes to a deeper understanding of one another. Programming includes mentorship, workshops, discussions, networking, public reading opportunities, industry events and more.

Meet the participants for the 2019 Calgary Borderlines Writers Circle!

Click on a tab to view participants.

Cecilia Alcaraz, who writes as Cecilia. Ortiz Luna., is a Filipino immigrant whose literary works aim to capture moments when human beings cope, hope and answer their own prayers. Cecilia. will be working with Olyn Ozbick.

Kelly Kaur immigrated to Canada from Singapore, and is interested in exploring themes of being an insider-outsider, race, language and gender through fiction and poetry. She will be working with Aritha van Herk.

Sherry Wong is a Chinese immigrant exploring the profound impact of war, political regimes, social systems and cultural traditions on human lives, especially on women, from early to late 20th century in China through a family saga – China, China. Sherry will be working with Sandra McIntyre.

Precious de Leon, a Filipino immigrant who came to Canada from the UAE, writes poetry as well as sci-ti and thriller fiction through a multicultural lens that reflect our different approaches to keeping our humanity in the digital age. Precious will be working with Pamela Clark.

Moni Brar immigrated from India to Canada. Through poetry and creative non-fiction, she explores the intersection of race, culure and gender and its impact on identity and belonging. Moni will be working with Vivian Hansen.

Debra Piapot is from now living in mohkinstsis and is working on short fiction and creative non-fiction exploring kinship, place, and urbanization. Debra will be working with Kim McCullough.



The Borderlines Writers Circle is supported by Edmonton Arts Council the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society and the Calgary Foundation