The Great Lakes basin has 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 corn and cattle to cultivate the word.

My field is story. Fiction and nonfiction. Creation and critique. I work with artists, scholars, activists and emerging writers, and with people who have powerful stories they’re struggling to tell. See Editing and Collaborating page for examples.

I also serve as the non-fiction editor of The New Quarterly, (, one of Canada’s leading literary magazines.

Out & About in 2015-16:

November 4-6th annual Wild Writers Festival. Stay tuned for details.

End of August: TNQ announces the winners of our Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest. Winner and runner-up will be published in our Fall issue (140); shortlisted authors will appear in 2017. Many thanks to consulting editor Tasneem Jamal, who made the process such a joy. #140 will also feature part 1 of our Diversity Project–selections from gifted fiction writers, poets and nonfiction writers who poured their hearts out. Consulting editor, Iraqi poet-scholar, Lamees El Athari, brought such grace to those readings. Thank you all.

Native Immigrant will be at the World Social Forum in Montreal, August 9 -14th. This project’s installation is “The Dress of Our Hopes.”

The Solstice, Toronto: Kirsteen MacLeod launches her debut collection of short fiction, The Animal Game. I had the pleasure of editing these stories before the good folks at Tightrope Press did their magic and converted the mss into a book. Such an honour, working with Kirsteen, who is also my co-conspirator in the anthology project.

June 16, Toronto: moderating the panel on editing at Book Summit with some of the finest editors in the business: Anita Chong (McClelland & Stewart), Patrick Crean (HarperCollins), Pamela Mulloy (TNQ), and Janice Zawerbny (Anansi).

Thanks to everyone who made this year’s Write on the French River Creative Writing Retreat (May 6-11, 2016) such a fabulous experience. This annual retreat is ideal for new writers seeking guidance and community; a boon to seasoned writers who want to work in a gorgeous setting with gifted instructors Don Gillmor, Oakland Ross, Nanci White and Lindy Mechefske. Special thanks to our TNQ writer-in-residence, Laura Rock. Watch for her post about the experience on TNQ’s blog.

Sure did not expect to see 60 people at the spiritual memoir workshop. Who are all these people with an appetite for writing about the inner life? The University of Guelph’s Writers Workshop (Feb. 18, 2016) made it possible to meet community members and gifted teachers like Eufemia Fantetti. (Thanks, Eufemia, for coming!)

Delighted to be guest speaker at the Canadian Authors Association, Waterloo-Wellington branch (January 20). An interactive evening of talk about editing, writing retreats and decoding the mysterious world of lit mags.

Spirituality, faith, religion, practice, the inner life–if you squirm just using the lingo, you’re not alone. Conversations at the Wild Writers Festival (November 6-8, 2015) set off a firestorm of interest in how to write about these issues. The talk has led to creating a bold new anthology and a new TNQ non-fiction feature, called Soundings. I am deeply honoured to be the editor of both. Stay tuned for details. 

Writing spiritual memoir retreat in London, Ontario (October 30, 2015).

Montreal (August 5-15) for the fifth iteration of Native Immigrant, this time as part of the Land in Sight Festival, at the Ashukan Cultural Space in Old Montreal. My role in these remarkable community collaborations is to help with oral history collecting and to offer a Writing Workshop. I also had the pleasure of working with Carolina Echeverria, and our guest poet, Chilean Roxana Miranda Rupailafto translate her Shumpall into English for a tri-lingual poetry reading at Cafe Mariposa.

Guest speaker in Ayelet Tsabari‘s Creative Nonfiction Master Class at the University of Toronto (July).

Scouting for Native Immigrant‘s future partnerships in Chile (June). An incredibly rich experience of Mapuche new year’s rites and ceremonies, thanks to our gracious hosts, Francesca and Gabriel and their extended family. Special nod to future community leader, Anita. All of four years old.

If the notion of “restorative narrative” piques your interest, visit To learn more about media commitment to this kind of storytelling, please check out this year’s summit (June 25-28) in the Catskills.

Write on the French River Creative Writing Retreat (May 8-13, 2015) Don Gillmor, Oakland Ross and I return to run hands-on workshops in fiction and nonfiction; hosted by retreat founder and adventurer, Nicola Ross. Here’s to dreaming riverside. Join us if you can.

Storywell (May 6) Faith or Fiction? If the likes of K.D. Miller, Natalie Goldberg, Ann Lamott, Marilynn Robinson, Joanna Brooks and others can write about mind/body/spirit in dynamic ways, why not the rest of us? Part of Storywell’s refreshing spring line-up.

Telling the Stories of our Lives (January through May, London, Ontario). Small group work aimed at sustaining writing practice. Co-taught with Prajna, founder of Amida Mosaic.