The traditional homelands of the Saugeen Ojibwe have been home to my family since the 1850s when they (un)settled the Queen’s Bush in what is now southwestern Ontario. Pioneering. Grounded. Giving. That’s how they’re remembered. If I’ve lived up to the family lore, it’s with a twist–sidestepping cattle to cultivate the word.

My field is story. Creation and critique. I work with artists, activists, scholars and emerging writers who have powerful stories they are struggling to release. 

I also serve as the Nonfiction Editor of The New Quarterly, one of Canada’s leading literary magazines, and as Associate Creative Director of the Wild Writers Literary Festival.

I am a member of Native Immigrant arts collective, the CNFC (Canadian Nonfiction Collective), the CCWWP (Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs) and Pen Canada.

Out & About in 2017:

November 3-5th, Waterloo, Ontario: the 6th annual Wild Writers Festival. Chris Banks, Tasneem Jamal, Anna Ling Kaye, Alison Pick, Betsy Warland and Kathleen Winter confirmed… Stay tuned for details.

End of August: TNQ announces the winner of our Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest. Winner and runner-up will be published in our Fall issue (no. 144); shortlisted authors will appear in one of our 2018 issues. Many thanks to Consulting Editor Tasneem Jamal, who makes the process such a joy.

Native Immigrant now has a permanent home, at Métèque gallery in Montreal, founded by the indomitable Carolina Echeverria and Agata Kozanecka. 

We’re also planning to bring one of Echeverria’s extraordinary installations (dresses) to Waterloo, Ontario, in 2018. More on opportunities on how to donate your own oral history and build the dress as details unfold. This year, Native Immigrant will be following up on work begun in Chile in 2015 and at the 2016 World Social Forum, where “The Dress of Our Hopes” was built.

June 9-11, Fredericton, NB: I’ll be joining Lori May and Moira Dann at this year’s CCWWP conference for a panel on editing anthologies–those go-to volumes you rely on when you’re trying to orient yourself to a subject that’s too large or complex for just one voice.

Writing retreat! One glorious week in Prince Edward County, digging into my CNF collection of linked stories, Sainted Dirt. The chapter, “Zion’s Children,” was long-listed in the CNFC’s recent contest. Thanks to the contest organizers and to judges willing to take risks on my saga about eloping to an Appalachian commune.

Speaking of risks: Body & Soul: Creative Nonfiction for Seekers and Skeptics showcases extraordinary original work by diverse women writers. I’ve been collecting pieces for this anthology, and Alison Pick has agreed to write the forward. More details in an upcoming post.

Looking forward to this year’s Write on the French River Creative Writing Retreat (May 2017), the finest writing workshop east of the Rockies, founded by writer-adventurer, Nicola Ross. This year my colleagues are Don Gillmor and Alison Pick. Lindy Mechefske and Marni Jackson will join us as well. We’re also thrilled to announce this year’s TNQ writer-in-residence is Eufemia Fantetti. Watch for her post about her experience on TNQ’s blog.

Past TNQ scholarship winners to the retreat include: Laura Rock, Lindy Mechefske, Pamela Mulloy and Kirsteen MacLeodall of whom have gone on to snag book deals. Hmm, could it be there’s something in the water?

April 28th: Arts & Literary Magazines Summit, Toronto. A chance to schmooze with colleagues in person. With 60+ lit mags (and those are the ones in English) across the country, it’s a challenge, keeping up with the surge of changes in the industry. Thanks to this year’s organizers and presenters.

April 20th: announcing the shortlist of nominees for this year’s National Magazine Awards. I had the pleasure of serving as one of three judges for the Best New Magazine Writer. We have incredible talent in this country. My best to all whose names were in the running. Keep digging. The work you do is vital. We need your voice.

Ongoing: TNQ’s diversity project introduces gifted emerging writers from a broad range of backgrounds to the trials of breaking into publishing. Jagtar Atwal, Leonarda Carranza and Tamara Jong, in particular, have been our guides since 2016, when we began in earnest to question whose works we were publishing, and why. Anna Ling Kaye, guest editor for TNQ’s summer issue (no. 143), as well as TNQ’s Consulting Editors Lamees Al Ethari and Tasneem Jamal have also been crucial to this process.

You can read more about the project at TNQ’s blog, under The Back Story.

Ongoing: spirituality, faith, religion, ceremony, practice, the inner life–if the lingo makes you uneasy, you’re not alone. Conversations at the 2015 Wild Writers Festival set off a firestorm of interest in how to write about these issues with unsentimental candour, and led to the Body & Soul anthology (above) but also to creating a new TNQ nonfiction feature, Soundings. I am honoured to edit Soundings, and to work with gifted writers such as Carleigh BakerLaura Legge, Emily McKibbonK.D. MillerZarqa Nawaz and Alison Pick. Send your queries to editor@tnq.ca.