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Horizons Writers Circle 2024 Participants Announced

Horizons Writers Circle

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is proud to announce the participants for the 2024 Horizons Writers Circle.

Horizons Writers Circle is a program that provides support and mentorship for writers within the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) community, ESL, and underrepresented writers who live in Edmonton and are at the beginning of their literary journey.

The following ten Alberta writers will begin their participation in the WGA’s Horizons Writers Circle. The program will run between January 2024 and May 2024, under the coordination of poet and author, Mila Philipzig. Writers from diverse backgrounds in the early stages of their careers will be mentored by experienced writers in the city in a series of workshops, panels and one-on-one mentorship. The program aims to introduce these new writers to the wider Edmonton community, make new contacts in the industry, and help them thrive in their writing careers.

This year’s participants are:

      • Alyx Bui —Fantasy, Science Fiction matched with Ellen Kartz
      • Anindita Mukherjee —Ekphrastic poetry matched with Candice Joy Oliva
      • Jameela McNeil —Playwriting matched with Gian Marco Visconti
      • Patricia Elena Morales —Poetry matched with Audrey Whitson
      • Ryan Lacanilao —Creative non-fiction and poetry matched with Kathryn Lennon

    Congratulations and good wishes to all the participants!


    Horizons Writers Circle Participants

    Alyx Bui: Alyx (they/them) is a second generation Chinese-Vietnamese Canadian and a filmmaker, activist, and tabletop roleplaying game designer, game master and writer. They use their voice to create divergent narratives from the mainstream and is an aspiring novelist! They hope to produce their first manuscript and hone their craft, style and voice through this program. Their work can be found at the CBC, TELUS Storyhive, HitPoint Press, DMsGuild, and the upcoming Pathfinder Lost Omens: Tian Xia guides. They are currently interested in exploring the Solarpunk genre in their writing, as they want to actualize a sustainable future interconnected with nature and community.

    Fun fact about Alyx: Alyx has hiked to Mount Everest Basecamp in 2019 with Peter Dinklage’s stunt double and met the last surviving Sherpa on the first 1953 ascent of Mount Everest.



    Ellen Kartz: Ellen Kartz holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and a professional writing certificate from Mount Royal University. As an active writer and freelance editor throughout her career, Ellen worked with and for the Edmonton Poetry Festival for many years as a volunteer coordinator, event planner, founding member, and board member. She is the former Communications and Partnerships Coordinator for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. In 2018, she self-produced a one-person stage show and poetry/nonfiction chapbook, both titled The Tenderness of Stone about a trek she made in 2016 through Nepal’s Khumbu Valley to Mount Everest Base Camp. In 2020, Ellen founded a small poetry chapbook press and launched a quartet of chapbooks by emerging queer Edmonton authors.


    Ryan Lacanilano: Ryan is an emerging writer with Kapampangan ancestry. Growing up in southern Alberta, he felt disconnected from his roots. He started writing, collecting family stories, and learning Filipino languages to restore the connection. Ryan’s goal for the Horizons Writers Circle is to write a manuscript that weaves creative nonfiction and poetry to explore identity and tell his family’s stories. His poems have appeared in Hungry Zine and The Polyglot, and he co-produces and co-hosts CJSR’s What’s the Tsismis?, a podcast about Pilipinx identity that won the national award for Best in Podcasting at the 2021 NCRA Community Radio Awards.


    Kathryn 君妍 Lennon: Kathryn is a poet, writer, editor and community planner.  She writes to make sense of her connections to place, migration, identity, language, and food. She was born and raised in Edmonton/Amiskwacîwâskahikan, with mixed Hong-Kong Cantonese and Irish ancestry. She is the co-founder and co-editor of Hungry Zine. Her work has been supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and she is a recipient of the 2023 Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund (EATF) Award.,, @hungryzine (Instagram + Twitter)

    Jameela McNeil: Jameela is an actor, musician, and emerging writer. Her work has been seen on stages such as, the Citadel Theatre, Mayfield, Workshop West, Lunchbox, Royal Manitoba Theatre, and the Stratford Festival. Currently, she is exploring playwriting. Her playwriting journey with Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwrights Unit (2021) and she has been writing and learning from mentors ever since. She is passionate about digging into the past, examining familial bonds, and putting a spotlight on the stories that have been forgotten or unexplored.



    Gian Marco Visconti: Gian Marco Visconti is an Arbëreshë and South Asian–Canadian writer, librarian, and urbanist, born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. He received the Glass Buffalo English Poetry Prize in 2016 and the SAAG Writing Prize in 2019. He was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2018 and a finalist for the Alberta Magazine Award for Poetry in 2023. Gian Marco writes mostly in English while weaving elements of his heritage languages (Italian, Gujarati, and Arabic) into his poetic work, taking inspiration from the aesthetics of collage art to combine disparate expressions and materials into new forms.

    Anindita Mukherjee: Anindita Mukherjee is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She hails from India. She is a poet, essayist, and translator, and her debut collection of poems titled Nothing and Variations was published by Hawakal Publishers in 2022. A fun fact about herself is that she translates her everyday to-do list in German as a daily practice. For the 2024 Horizons Writers Circle, she will be working with her mentor on her current manuscript in progress, tentatively titled, “Nothing Happens in Edmonton”. To achieve this, she plans to take long walks and listen to the sounds of the city. 


    Candice Joy Oliva: Candice Joy Oliva (she/they/siya) is an immigrant settler from Bicol, Philippines to Amiskwacîwâskahikan on Treaty 6. Their poetry explores the bridges and distances of heritage languages in connecting to our roots while, at the same time, finding kapwa all around. Siya hopes to continue reimagining joyful spaces to energize a practice of poetry and community care into alignment. She fulfills this dream also through designing and facilitating community programs for immigrant youth and seniors at the Newcomer Centre. In anticipation of Candice Joy’s debut poetry collection, check out recent publications in Polyglot Magazine, Decomp Journal, and Hungry Zine! IG: @candicejoyoliva.

    Patricia Elena Morales: Patricia Elena Morales was born in El Salvador, came to Edmonton in 1988, and became a Canadian citizen on her birthday in 1993, which makes her a 30-year-young Canadian. She is the descendant of Irish, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Honduran and Salvadoran ancestors, and the grandmother of three Edmontonians.

    She has written poetry and stories in Spanish, and now want to venture into writing them in English. She is already known as a storyteller by many of her friends, but through the mentorship program she intends to become a storywriter! Her dream is to become a published storywriter in Canada. Patricia was interviewed for CBC’s “As It Happens” winning the 2016 Gabriel ‘Certificate of Merit’ Award for Romero Martyrdom interview: As It Happens wins 2016 Gabriel ‘Certificate of Merit’ Award for Romero Martyrdom interview | CBC Radio


    Audrey Whitson: Audrey J. Whitson writes fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry and is currently at work on a play.  Her latest title, The Death of Annie the Water Witcher by Lightning, was shortlisted for the 2020 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize. Audrey was the 2023 Writer in Residence at MacEwan University.

    Writing is a spiritual practice for Audrey. Land is a constant presence in her work as is a curiosity about other ways of being in the world. To learn more, visit

    Besides writing, Audrey has worked as a public policy advisor, project coordinator, editor, independent theologian, social worker, secretary, camp counsellor, and A&W carhop. Audrey lives in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory and Métis Region 4.

    Photo credit: MacEwan University 2022


    Please direct any questions regarding the Horizons Writers Circle to Mila Philipzig ([email protected]).


    The Horizons Writers Circle is supported by Edmonton Arts Council


    Horizons is also grateful for donations from Rona Altrows, in memory of Brian Brennan.


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