On January 9, six Alberta writers will begin their participation in the the WGA’s annual mentorship program. 2018 marks the seventh straight year for the program, which sees emerging writers paired up with established Alberta authors to develop the emerging writer’s literary work, and to also provide support and encouragement.
This year, Kevin Holowack will work with Margaret Macpherson, Rachelle Pinnow will work with Ken Rivard, Janet Chotai will work with Sue Farrell Holler, Lorna Carley will work with Merna Summers, and Sara Zampa will work with Kate Boorman.
Kevin Holowack was born and raised in Edmonton and now lives there permanently after several years of on-and-off travelling. He has a degree in English from the University of Alberta and is drawn to prose that intersects fiction and elements of poetics. He has published both poetry and prose and won an “Emerging Writer Award” from the Alberta Magazine Conference 2017 for a piece of travel writing. Aside from that, he’s an eternal dabbler, involved in a handful of music projects, including as a lyric writer. Nowadays he works in a bookstore and has a side gig writing fairytales for children.
Margaret Macpherson has published seven books—nonfiction, biography, a collection of short stories and novels—and is delighted to be working with the Guild’s mentorship program again. She has worked as a college instructor, Writer-in-Residence, a manuscript editor and evaluator, and a journalist and book reviewer. Margaret dabbles in painting when not writing or presenting. She has recently completed her third novel and eighth book, Caribou Queen. Margaret has also been published in anthologies, newspapers and literary journals.
Calgarian Ken Rivard has had 10 books (short short fiction, poetry, children’s literature and a novel) published professionally. His writing has appeared in many national and regional publications, in anthologies and on the CBC. Ken has presented many workshops and has worked as the Writer-in-Residence for both The Calgary Public Library and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta (Strawberry Creek). He has served on award juries for Alberta, Saskatchewan and The Writers’ Union of Canada. Ken’s publications have been finalists for The WGA Book Awards and his novel, MOTHERWILD (2014), was nominated for Canada’s 2015 ReLit Book Award. Website: kenrivard.com
Janet Chotai was born in the north of England and for as long as she can remember, wrote little story books. In 1972, her parents, sister and she—along with four dogs—sailed to Canada. Alighting in Montreal, they drove across country all the way to Calgary. Not long afterwards, Janet met her husband and the travelling bug stayed with them as they moved to BC, then Manitoba and on to Ontario. Somewhere along the way, she earned a Fine Arts degree. Eventually, they settled in Edmonton, raised three children and, over the years, twice that many dogs. They still travel.
Based in Grande Prairie, Sue Farrell Holler is a children’s author, journalist, and former Sun Media parenting/humour columnist who draws inspiration from everyday life. Among her titles is the middle grade novel Lacey and the African Grandmothers (Second Story Press, 2009). Her newest book, Cold White Sun, will be published in September 2018 by Groundwood Books. This YA novel is based on the real life story of an illegal refugee who, at the age of 14, is smuggled into Canada. Sue spends a lot of time on the road— visiting schools and libraries for “author visits” and to lead writing workshops for adults and children.
Lorna Carley is a Canadian short story writer with publications appearing in Grain Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and online. She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Saskatchewan and an MBA in Finance from the Haskayne School of Business. She is at work on her first story collection. Lorna and her family divide their time between Calgary and Canmore, Alberta.
Merna Summers is the author of three collections of short stories, some of which have been repeatedly anthologized through the years. Her work has won a number of awards, including the Marian Engel Award (given each year to one Canadian woman writer), two WGA awards for fiction, the Katherine Anne Porter Award for the short story (given by the University of Oklahoma), an Ohio State Award for educational broadcasting, and the Howard Palmer Award (given by the WGA for service to the writing community of Alberta). In 2002, she was among Canadians selected to receive the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.
Sara Zampa is a graphic and web designer at Yardstick. While she has the necessary skills to build beautiful websites, she’s been told that she was hired because she made a kinetic typography video of one of Dr. Evil’s speeches that really resonated with the staff. Originally hailing from Cochrane, AB, Sara has lived in Charlottetown, Banff, and Pender Island, BC. Like many vagabond writers, she has held an odd collection of jobs, ranging from horseback trail guide to culinary arts student. Sara currently lives in Edmonton, where she is coping with a serious crossword puzzle problem. You can find her blog (and that Dr. Evil video) at redhotfool.com.
Kate A. Boorman is an author from Edmonton with roots in the small town of Rimbey, Alberta. She writes speculative fiction, loves the outdoors, and has a particular interest in the darkest parts of the forest. She has presented at various festivals and conferences and is a touring artist with the Young Alberta Book Society. Her debut novel, Winterkill, the first book in an alternate history trilogy, was a finalist in the 2015 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, and won the 2016 R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Fiction. Her fourth YA novel, The Remains (Macmillan), will be published in January, 2019. Visit her at kateaboorman.com.
Thank you to our donors and funders!
We acknowledge the generous financial support of donors to this program:
- Jane Stevens
- The John Patrick Gillese Fund at Edmonton Community Foundation
- The RBC Foundation Emerging Artists Project