About

Welcome fellow traveller.

Most days you’ll find me cycling to cafes to write or to meet with writers. In Canada’s tech hub of Kitchener-Waterloo, we have our pick of great cafes.

I have lived in New England and the Southern Rockies, in Montreal, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and Hamilton (aka Steeltown), in Saugeen Township on Lake Huron’s eastern shore, and in the high desert country of New Mexico. Wherever I go, I am at home, working with artists, activists, and adventuresome scholars to release powerful, disruptive stories. 

You can find my essays and stories in various publications. Books authored or edited include:

Body & Soul: Stories for Skeptics & Seekers, forthcoming from Caitlin Press (winter 2019); 29 unorthodox women writers and poets search for a language for the sacred. With a Foreword by Alison Pick.

Temple in a Teapot (West Meadow/Harland Press, 2010), launched on a 1,000-mile road trip through the American West.

Stories in my Neighbour’s Faith: Narratives from World Religions in Canada (United Church of Canada, 1999), featuring two dozen faith leaders from sea to sea to sea.

My next book, Sainted Dirt, reckons with land, language, family and imperfect teaware. To complete the research and writing of this work, I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.

A lifelong passion for creative community and healing colours my publishing and teaching in communities and classrooms, from Boulder, Colorado and Montreal’s immigrant neighbourhoods, to St Jerome’s University College and Wilfrid Laurier University.

I am the nonfiction editor of The New Quarterly and director of Write on the French River Creative Writing Retreat. I am a member of Native Immigrant arts collective and the Canadian Nonfiction Collective Society (CNFC).

In 2019, I will join the board of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund

 

Join me in 2019:

January 28: Reading “Sign Language” at the launch of the fall + winter/2018/19 issue of the Humber Literary Review, Bloor & Ossington, Toronto. So honoured to be in this fabulous publication!

March 10: The Growing Room Festival, Vancouver, launching Body & Soul with contributors Sharon Bala, Meharoona Ghani, and Amanda Leduc. At last, I will meet the incredible Western writers and poets who contributed fantastic personal stories to the book.

March 14: Vancouver Public Library, launching Body & Soul with more fabulous contributors. 

April 26-28: Lake Junalusca Retreat Center, North Carolina. Guest speaker, with my daughter, Cailleah Scott-Grimes, at the Body, Mind & Spirit Women’s Retreat. What an honour, to be invited to meet this amazing group of Southern women.

May 3-8: Write on the French River Creative Writing Retreat with  instructors Helen Humphreys, Alison Pick, and Andrew Westoll, special guests Sharon Bala and Lamees Al Ethari, and my colleague, Pamela Mulloy. Six days at the stunning Lodge at Pine Cove, in Noelville, Ontario. Honestly, what could be better?

TBA: Meteque, Montreal, launching Body & Soul with contributors (and cover artist) Carolina Echeverria and Tamara Jong. Twinned with writing workshops!

TBA: Kingston, launching Body & Soul with contributors Lindy Mechefske and Kirsteen MacLeod.

TBA: Toronto, launching Body & Soul with contributors Jagtar Kaur Atwal, Eufemia Fantetti, Sheniz Janmohamed, and others.

November: launching Body & Soul at the Wild Writers Festival (provisional)

 

Highlights of 2018:

February 22nd: RBC Taylor Prize professional development workshop with IFOA director Geoffrey Taylor and 5 emerging writers. Thanks to Su Hutchinson for making these vital conversations happen.

March 3rd: Spiritual Memoir 2.0 workshop with Eufemia Fantetti, as part of the University of Guelph Writers Workshop series.

March 15th: Nonfiction panel at Wilfrid Laurier University, with Emily Urquhart and Tasneem Jamal, as part of Emily’s tenure as Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence at WLU. (Psst: we all have “Edna Staebler” in our bios!)

April: The wayward bride in Appalachia. At age 18, I eloped to the North Carolina foothills, to marry a young man I hardly knew. A musician, who talked me into going South. This spring, my daughter, Toronto filmmaker Cailleah Scott-Grimes, and I will go looking for those who sheltered (and married) me way back when.

April 26th: Arts & Literary Magazine Summit, Toronto.

Spring: Adjudicating “Best Editorial Package” for the National Magazine Awards. Join us at the NMAs June gala in Toronto!

Summer: Adjudicating TNQ’s Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest with Tasneem Jamal, Emily Urquhart and colleagues. Contest winners are announced in August and featured in our fall issue.

October 13: Daylong Workshop for the Quebec Writers Federation on how to apply to lit mags–the process demystified!

October 15: Writing Workshop at Meteque, as part of Native-Immigrant’s What Nourishes You? project.

November: Moderating, hosting…another Wild Writers Festival, year 7! Stay tuned for details. Then it’s off to Colorado to talk about collaborating with textile artist, Barbara Olson.

 

Highlights of 2017:

October: Launch of Foment literary magazine cued to the Ottawa Writers Festival. Honoured to write the afterword for this year’s edition.

September: “Greeting fields.” A generous grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund gave me time in ancestral territory, researching the Bruce County archives in Southampton to write the capstone chapter of my book, Sainted Dirt.

June 20-24th: Writer-in-residence at Gallery Métèque in Montreal (NDG) to celebrate the start of Native Immigrant VII: Tionnhekwen: The Seeds of Life. The residency includes a writing workshop (11-1 PM, June 24th), as well as meetings with artists, writers, publishers and activists to discuss the role of writing in cultural collaboration. I will also be joining collective members in gathering oral histories around Dress # 7, The Seeds of Life installation.

Writing Retreat to work on 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 unorthodox saga about eloping to a commune deep in Appalachia.

Also, Body & Soul: Creative Nonfiction for Seekers and Skeptics showcases extraordinary original work by diverse women writers from around the country. What an honour to be editing this anthology. Alison Pick penned the foreword, which will also appear in TNQ 145 (winter 2018). More details in an upcoming post.

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 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 began with introducing 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 really questioned 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: TNQ’s nonfiction feature, Soundings, showcases innovations in spiritual memoir. To date we’ve featured work by Carleigh Baker, Emily McKibbonK.D. Miller, and Zarqa Nawaz. Forthcoming: Dora DueckSue Goyette, Laura LeggeAlison Pick, and more. Send your queries to editor@tnq.ca.