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Alberta Literary Awards Finalist Readings (Calgary — May 3)

Alberta Literary Awards finalist readings

Friday, May 3rd, 2024
7:00pm MDT
at the Residence Inn by Marriott
Calgary Downtown/Beltline District
610 10th Ave SW

There is a paid parkade attached to the hotel. Street parking is free after 6pm.

Featuring in-person readings from:

Cecile Beaulieu, Antoinette Bekker, Charlotte Bellows, paulo da costa, Marcello Di Cintio, Patti Edgar, Juleta Severson-Baker, Natalie Meisner, Idman Nur Omar, Deborah Willis, and Alexandra Zabjek.

About the Readers

Cecile Beaulieu is a first-time writer from Makwa, Saskatchewan. The enormous tragedies suffered by Beaulieu, experiencing the suicides of three of her brothers, pushed her to pen this memoir. Writing was her way to metabolize her grief, and she hopes this, her first book, will help those who have had similar experiences do the same. A member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, she lives in Sundre, Alberta with her husband, John Bach.

Antoinette Bekker‘s love for the prairies, her experiences as an immigrant, and her career as a psychiatrist all inform her writing, which has developed into her own brand of prairie burlesque. She completed Calgary University’s Creative Writing Certificate in 2022 and is enrolled in an MFA in
Fiction at the University of King’s College. She uses a strong voice, humour, and a satirical tone to write contemporary women’s fiction focusing on ageing, mental illness, and animal rights.

Charlotte Bellows wrote The Definition of Beautiful, her debut book, while attending high school in Calgary. Majoring in psychology, she is currently attending the University of Victoria. Charlotte is an executive of the UVic Novelists Society and has been a contributor to the Globe and Mail.

paulo da costa is a writer, editor and translator born in Angola, raised in Portugal, and now living in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies (Moh’kins’tsis / Calgary, Alberta). Trust the Bluer Skies: Meditations on Fatherhood, a book of creative non-fiction, was published in 2024 with University of Regina Press.

Marcello Di Cintio is the author of five books, including Walls: Travels Along the Barricades and Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, both winners of the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. Di Cintio’s writing has also appeared in publications such as The International New York Times, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic and Afar. Di Cintio has served as a writer-in-residence at the Calgary Public Library, the University of Calgary and the Palestine Writing workshop. Di Cintio’s newest book is Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers.

Juleta Severson-Baker comes from settler heritage and was born and raised on Treaty 7 land in Calgary. She is an educator and poet whose first book, Incarnate (Frontenac House, 2013), was shortlisted for the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Prize for Poetry. She is honoured that her most recent collection of poetry, Antecedent (Frontenac House, 2023) has been nominated for the WGA’s Stephan G. Stephansson Award. Currently, Juleta is the Assistant Principal of the high school program at Calgary Arts Academy.

Natalie Meisner (  is a lgbtaiq2s+ playwright and poet who was born and raised on the Mi’kma’ki / South Shore of Nova Scotia and began her work in the indie theatre and spoken word poetry scenes of Halifax. After studying literature and theatre at Kings/ Dalhousie, she trained as an actor at the National Theatre School then headed to the west coast for a MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, and Ph.D at the University of Calgary. She has seven full length books in various genres to her name and was Calgary/ Mohkinstsis’ 5th Poet Laureate. She is a wife, a mom to two great boys, and a full professor of creative writing at Mount Royal University where she loves helping other writers find their voice.

Patti Edgar is a Calgary author whose writing has appeared in publications such as FreeFall, The Dalhousie Review, Grain, Prairie Fire and Waiting: An Anthology of Essays. Yellow Dog published her middle grade novel Anna, Analyst in 2021, which Kirkus Reviews described as “a droll, deftly executed debut.” Last year she was a finalist for the Alberta Writers Guild’s John Whyte Memorial Essay Award.

Idman Nur Omar was born in Rome and immigrated to Canada in 1991. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph and an MA in English Literature from Concordia University. She lives in Calgary, where she teaches at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in the Communication and Liberal Arts Studies Department.

Deborah Willis was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was named one of the best books of 2009 by The Globe and Mail and NPR, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. Her second collection of stories was published in 2017 by Penguin Random House in Canada and W.W. Norton in the U.S, and translated into Italian by Del Vecchio Editore. The Dark and Other Love Stories was long-listed for the 2017 Giller Prize, won the Georges Bugnet Award for best work of fiction published in Alberta, and was named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail, the CBC, and Chatelaine.  Deborah’s first novel, Girlfriend on Mars, was released in June 2023 from W.W. Norton (U.S.), Penguin Random House (Canada), and Serpent’s Tail (U.K.), and will be translated into Italian, French, and Danish. It received rave reviews from The New York Times and The Guardian, and was long-listed for The Giller Prize.

Alexandra Zabjek is a writer based in Edmonton, Alberta. She spent 17 years working as a journalist, first as a local newspaper reporter and then as a radio producer for national CBC programs, including The House and The Current. We Need To Do This: A history of the women’s shelters movement in Alberta and the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelter is her first book. 

Congratulations to all of the nominees, the full list can be found here.

At the event, you can expect light complimentary catering, book sales from Shelf Life Books, and bar sales from the adjoining café including a literary-themed feature cocktail!

Huge thank you to our generous event sponsor Tim Ostrem and the Artists Inn Residence program at the Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown/Beltline district. See you there!

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