Symposium Bios

Angie Abdou teaches creative writing at Athabasca University. She has published four books of fiction, including Canada Reads’ finalist The Bone Cage. Her most recent novel, Between (Arsenal Pulp Press), was a best of 2014 pick in Prism Magazine, 49th Shelf, and Vancouver Sun.

Lillian Allen is a creative writing professor at the Ontario College of Art& Design University. A leading international dub poet/spoken word artist, Lillian’s work is taken up across all levels of the educational spectrum. She publishes in print, audio, video, and in performance. She is the new co-vice chair of the CCWWP.

Rob Budde teaches creative writing at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. He has published eight books (poetry, novels, interviews, and short fiction), appeared in numerous literary magazines, and he is also a regular columnist for Northword Magazine. His most recent books are declining america and Dreamland Theatre. He is co-editor of Thimbleberry Magazine: Art + Culture in Northern BC which will be launched in early 2017.

Larissa Lai is the author of two novels, When Fox Is a Thousand and Salt Fish Girl; two books of poetry, sybil unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies; a chapbook, Eggs in the Basement; and most recently, a critical book, Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s.She holds a Canada Research Chair II in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary and directs The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing there., @haamyue

Lorri Neilsen Glenn’s hybrid work about mixed-blood Red River women is forthcoming with Wolsak and Wynn in 2017. Former Halifax Poet Laureate, Lorri is the author and contributing editor of twelve works of poetry, creative nonfiction, and scholarly research, as well as the recipient of awards for innovative teaching and research. She is on faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University and serves as a mentor in The University of King’s College MFA program. Find her at @neilsenglenn or

Jill Goldberg writes from Vancouver where she also teaches creative writing and literature at Langara College. Towards the completion of her MFA in creative writing from UBC, Jill is currently working on her first novel that she dreams of publishing in the not-too distant future. She is also an occasional poet, screenwriter, and activist.

David Leach is the chair of the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria and the author of Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel (ECW Press, 2016)

Shannon Maguire is an Assistant Professor (LTA) in the Department of English at the University of Calgary. She is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, fur(l) parachute (BookThug, 2013)—which was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry—and Myrmurs: An Exploded Sestina (BookThug, 2015) as well as four chapbooks, one of which was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award. Her work appears in The Best American Experimental Writing, 2014 among other places.

Aritha Van Herk’s novels include Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address (nominated for the Governor General’s Award for fiction), Places Far From Ellesmere Restlessness. Her critical works, A Frozen Tongue and In Visible Ink, stretch the boundaries of the essay and interrogate questions of reading and writing as aspects of narrative subversion. With Mavericks: an Incorrigible History of Alberta (winner of the Grant MacEwan Author’s Award), van Herk ventured into new territory, transforming history into a narratological spectacle. Her latest works, In This Place and Prairie Gothic (with photographer George Webber), develop the idea of geographical temperament as tonal accompaniment. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, recipient of the Lt. Governor’s Distinguished Artist Award, and recipient of the Lorne Pierce Medal, awarded to recognize achievement of special significance and conspicuous merit in imaginative or critical literature in Canada.

Nikki Reimer is a poet and non-fiction writer who works in digital communications and marketing for higher education. Her published books are [sic] (Frontenac House 2010) and DOWNVERSE (Talonbooks 2014). She is most often always on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations territory living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people. Janet works in print, spoken word, performance and video poetry. Her 5th book Totem Poles and Railroads (ARP Books) will be released November 1st 2016.

Doreen Spence was born of Cree ancestry in Northern Alberta.  She has represented her people and the values by which they live in an effective and exemplary manner for the past forty-five years. Drawing on her own experiences as an indigenous woman as well as those, peoples from across the world, Doreen is capable of addressing any issue that impacts on the Aboriginal community.

She travels extensively to present at numerous conferences around the world sharing her message of healing, tolerance, human rights, and the wisdom of First Nations traditional teachings. Doreen is the founder and executive director of Canadian Indigenous Women’s Resource Institute. Prior to CIWRI, she was the founder and President of the Plains Cultural Survival School Society and was a senator at the University of Calgary. Internationally, Doreen is the Canadian representative to the United Nations Working Group of Indigenous Populations, and as part of that, she advocates on behalf of indigenous peoples worldwide.  Doreen has been honored numerous times for her work, including being a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee for the 1000 Women of Peace project in 2005; ; receiving an International Award at the New Zealand Spiritual Elders Conference in 1992, along with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Doreen has opened hearts and minds around the world, and continues to do so, through her teachings, persistence, wisdom, and unconditional love.  She strives to bring understanding between all nations.