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The Writers’ Guild of Alberta Announces the 2024 Golden Pen Award Recipient

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta Golden Pen Award is presented to acknowledge the lifetime achievements of outstanding Alberta writers. Past recipients are W.O. Mitchell, Grant MacEwan, Rudy Wiebe, Myrna Kostash, Robert Kroetsch, Merna Summers, Aritha van Herk, Fred Stenson, George Melnyk, Alice Major, Betty Jane Hegerat, Greg Hollingshead, Candas Jane Dorsey, Cecelia Frey, Bob Stallworthy, Vivian Hansen, Chris Wiseman and Joan Crate.

For over 40 years, Marty Chan has contributed to theatre, radio, television, and kids’ fiction. His playwriting career began at the Edmonton Fringe Festival with hit plays, including Polaroids of Don, Maggie’s Last Dance, The Bone House, and Mothership Down. He broke into mainstage theatre with his smash hit Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl, which toured across Canada and received an Off-Broadway production in 2004. The play also received the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Best New Work. His Chinese opera/western musical, The Forbidden Phoenix, received the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama in 2004.

A regular contributor to CBC Radio, Marty wrote and performed the weekly humour commentary series Dim Sum Diaries from 1994 until 2000. He won the Alberta Anthology monologue competition four years in a row. He wrote two radio dramas for CBC (Grandmother’s Gift and an adaptation of Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl). In 2023, he wrote Double Trouble, a radio podcast drama for Odyssey Theatre. 

Marty worked as a TV story editor on Incredible Story Studio and Mentors. Before joining the story department of Jake and the Kid, he briefly appeared as an actor on the Canadian series. He penned The Orange Seed Myth, a half-hour comedy pilot that won the World Charleston Film Award and was nominated for a Gemini for Best Youth Writing. 

Marty’s contributions to the community include serving as the Citadel Theatre’s first playwright in residence and a writer in residence for the Edmonton Public Library, Strathcona County Library, Fort Saskatchewan Library, and the St. Albert Library. He chaired the Young Alberta Book Society and the Edmonton Arts Council boards.

Today, Marty is better known as a kids’ author with 23 published books. He won the 2005 City of Edmonton Book Prize for his first novel, The Mystery of the Frozen Brains and the 2007 Diamond Willow Award for the follow-up book, The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul. He has presented author talks and workshops to schools across Canada, the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Today, Marty continues to work and live in Edmonton with his wife, Michelle and their two cats, Hugo and Minnie.

Comments from the WGA Golden Pen Committee:
Marty Chan has a long-standing consistent career within the Alberta writing community as a multi-genre creator. He works in several genres, he has written for stage and wider mainstream audiences in a number of disciplines, and he readily adapts to the use of new technologies to engage audiences. In regards to mentoring, he is community oriented and has taught workshops and spoken on panels within the writing community alongside his extensive work with young writers, inspiring the next generation of creatives. His approach has been innovative and inspiring, and the WGA Board of Directors believes Marty is a worthy candidate to receive the Golden Pen Award.

The Golden Pen Award is supported by Aritha van Herk.


Saturday, June 8
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm MDT
Coast Edmonton Plaza, 10155 105st NW

The 2023 Golden Pen Award will be presented to Marty Chan at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on Saturday, June 8th in Edmonton. Awards will be given in nine other categories, as well.

Tickets for the Awards Gala can be purchased here through the Writers’ Guild of Alberta website.

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