Meet Our Mentors


Katherine GovierKATHERINE GOVIER is the author of 10 novels as well as 3 collections of short stories. She has won The Toronto Book Award and the Marian Engel Award. Her novel, CREATION, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Katherine has been President of PEN Canada and serves as a vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Her latest novel is The Three Sisters Bar and Hotel. She founded and directs The Shoe Project.


SARAH WEATHERWAX, originally from the US, is an Actor & Voice Teacher. She has an honours BFA in Acting from Emerson College and has done voice work on numerous shows including CRAWFORD, YOUNG DRUNK PUNK, HAVEN, HEARTLAND, SAVING HOPE and movies such as THE BOOK OF NEGROES (mini-series), BEEBA BOYS and HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. Her production of MUD by Maria Irene Fornes, received four (out of five) Ns from NOW Magazine, Toronto’s primary arts paper.

She was the recipient of a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to complete her voice teacher training with the renowned Kristin Linklater in 2003. Along with private voice/audition coaching, she's worked as an on-set acting coach and taught at various companies & schools: Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts; Humber College Comedy Program in Toronto; Workman Arts, a company devoted to fine arts training for people struggling with addiction and/or mental illness; and Straeon Acting Studios in Toronto, Montreal and Boston.

One of Sarah's numerous short stories was a finalist in an international literary competition. Her novel is not yet published, but it is written, and it is beautiful.


CAROLINE ADDERSON is the author of four novels, two collections of short stories, as well as many books for young readers.   Her work has received numerous award nominations including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, two Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.  Winner of three BC Book Prizes and three CBC Literary Awards, Caroline was also the recipient of the 2006 Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement.


ALISON MATTHEWS is a veteran actor and voice artist with over two decades of experience in theatre, film, television, and radio. She is Head of Coaching for the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, and Interim Program Director for the Citadel Banff Professional Theatre Program. She has been a public speaking trainer and speech festival adjudicator in Western Canada for 18 years. Alison holds a M.F.A. in Theatre Voice Pedagogy from the University of British Columbia.


TARA CHEYENNE FRIEDENBERG is an award winning creator, choreographer, performer, educator and Artistic Director of Tara Cheyenne Performance. Based in Vancouver, she has been creating and performing her unique brand of hybrid dance-theatre for the past decade and is known for her expert blending of comedy, dynamic physicality and exciting character invention. Tara's full-length solos and ensemble works have received critical and audience acclaim, and continue to tour nationally and internationally (highlights: DanceBase/Edinburgh, South Bank Centre/London, On the Boards/Seattle USA, High Performance Rodeo/Calgary etc.).  Recent work includes empty.swimming.pool a duet with Italian artist, Silvia Gribaudi and How to Be (The Cultch) 2017. Tara has been nominated for several Jessie and Ovation awards for her theatrical choreography and is a 2014 recipient of the Chrystal Dance Prize. Tara Cheyenne is a leader in community engagement and creation and is in demand throughout Canada.

Barb HowardBARB HOWARD’s most recent book is the short story collection Western Taxidermy. She has also published three novels, including one for young adults, and co-edited an anthology of creative nonfiction. Barb has won the Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story, the Exporting Alberta Award, and various short story contests in magazines. She is a former lawyer, a past author-in-residence for the Calgary Public Library, and an established facilitator of online and onsite creative writing workshops.

Marina EndicottMARINA ENDICOTT worked in theatre as an actor, director and playwright before turning to fiction. Her novels have been nominated for the Governor General’s Award and the Giller Prize (three times), and her second, Good to a Fault, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize. Marina teaches creative writing at the Banff Centre, the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta. 




Sheree FitchSHEREE FITCH is an author, poet, storyteller, playwright and literacy educator. Her award-winning children's books are now being enjoyed by a second generation of Canadian children. For the past twenty-five years, she has worked as a mentor and mid-wife to the stories of others in both urban centres and more isolated areas – most notably the Himalayas in Bhutan and the tundra in Nunavut. She has a B.A.and M.A. in English Literature and is the recipient of three honorary doctorates for her work in social justice and her contribution to Canadian literature. In July 2017, she opened a seasonal book shoppe in rural Nova Scotia. 



Alissa YorkALISSA YORK’s internationally acclaimed novels include Mercy, Effigy (short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Fauna and, most recently, The Naturalist. Stories from her short fiction collection, Any Given Power, won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award; her essays and articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Brick magazine and elsewhere. York has been teaching and mentoring writers for a decade. She has lived all over Canada and now makes her home in Toronto. 




Leah CherniakLEAH CHERNIAK is a Resident Artist at The Soulpepper Theatre Company, where she is the Associate Director of The  Academy, a two year training residency for theatre artists.  She co-founded Theatre Columbus (now Common Boots Theatre) and was Co-Artistic Director with Martha Ross for 25 years,  directing and collaborating in more than 30 original plays.  Leah teaches clown at Ryerson Theatre and Directing at The University of Toronto, and coaches Shoe Project members in drama and voice.



MARY VINGOE, OC, performance coach and director, is a playwright and theatre director. Her play Refuge was a shortlisted nominee for the Governor General's Award for English-language drama at the 2016 GG Awards. From Dartmouth, She studied theatre at Dalhousie and the U of Toronto's Graduate Centre for Study of Drama. She was a founder of Toronto's Nightwood Theatre in 1979, and later co-founded Ship's Company Theatre in Parrsboro and Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax. She has directed or produced plays such as Wendy Lill's The Glace Bay Miner's Museum, George Boyd's Consecrated Ground, and George Elliott Clarke's Whylah Falls and Beatrice Chancy. Her plays include The Company Store, Herring Gull's Egg, Holy Ghosters, Hooligans and Living Curiosities: A Story of Anna Swan.



Nan Hughes Poole NAN HUGHES POOLE, mezzo-soprano, has a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, a MM in Performance from Boston University and attended the Juilliard Opera Center in New York, on full scholarship. Nan has toured and recorded throughout Europe, the United States, Ukraine and Brazil, and is a member of the close harmony vocal trio, Times Three. She enjoys teaching voice and public speaking, at the Banff Centre and in her private studio.

Momoye SugimanMOMOYE SUGIMAN is a veteran ESL teacher who has helped countless newcomers nurture their creativity. She is also the substantive editor of a collection of oral herstories: Jin Guo:Voices of Chinese Canadian Women (1992), and other projects. She holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies. 




LORRI NEILSEN GLENN is a mentor in the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program and former Professor (now Professor Emerita) at Mount Saint Vincent University. Poet Laureate for Halifax from 2005-2009, Lorri is the Métis author and contributing editor of fourteen collections of poetry, creative nonfiction and scholarly work, and the recipient of awards for innovative teaching, ethnographic research and her work in the arts.

Following the River: Traces of Red River Women (Wolsak and Wynn, 2017) is a mixed-genre exploration of the lives of Lorri’s Ininiwak and Métis grandmothers and their contemporaries. It was shortlisted for the Evelyn Richardson Award for nonfiction and won The Miramichi Reader’s “Best of” nonfiction award.

As visiting scholar, professor and freelance writing coach, Lorri has worked with hundreds of writers across Canada and in Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Greece and Chile. She has served as Writer/Author in Residence at the University of Saskatchewan (St. Peter’s College and U of S main campus) and in the Manitoba library system. Lorri has served on national and provincial literary juries including the Canada Council for the Arts, CBC Literary Contest (nonfiction and poetry), Event magazine, The Malahat Review, The Creative Nonfiction Collective, Writers’ Federations of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, Alberta Writers’ Guild, among others. She is on the Board of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and is a former Board member of Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs.

Lorri's award-winning essays and poetry have appeared in The Malahat Review, Prairie Fire, Event, Grain, among other journals and anthologies, and her poetry has been adapted for libretti by celebrated composers Tawnie Olson and Kala Pierson. A Red River Métis, Lorri lived on the Prairies before moving to Nova Scotia in the 80s. She divides her time between Halifax and Rose Bay, NS.