Rhonda Risebrough

Rhonda comes to The Shoe Project after more than 17 years with The Terry Fox Foundation, most recently in the role of International Director. An experienced fundraiser, communicator and volunteer manager, she is excited to join The Shoe Project in its important mission. Rhonda is a life long volunteer, and for the past twenty-five years…

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Cordelia Tang

Cordelia Tang joined The Shoe Project workshop in 2013, two years after she arrived in Canada as a landed immigrant. In China, she had been working as an editor for over nine years. After graduating from the Master of Information program, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, she started working for The Shoe Project as…

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Marian Botsford-Fraser

Marian has been working with The Shoe Project board since October 2021. She is an award-winning freelance writer, broadcaster, and critic. Marian has been Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, President of PEN Canada, and Vice President of ACTRA.

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Valérie Jamga Tchatchoua

Valérie has been working with The Shoe Project board since October 2021. Fluent in both English and French, Valérie is a registered Social Worker with Alberta College of Social Worker (ACSW). She is a two-time alumna of the Shoe Project. Valérie has experience working with a diverse population, especially with newcomers in Canada.

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Alana Hawley Purvis

Alana Hawley Purvis is a professional actor and vocal coach based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Proud to be a Canadian Artist, her training and work has taken her across North and Central America, collaborating with such organizations as: Bard on the Beach, Arts Club, The Stratford Festival, Douglas College, University of Alberta, On the…

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Rhonda Risebrough

Rhonda comes to The Shoe Project after more than 17 years with The Terry Fox Foundation, most recently in the role of International Director. An experienced fundraiser, communicator and volunteer manager, she is excited to join The Shoe Project in its important mission. Rhonda is a life long volunteer, and for the past twenty-five years…

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Zahida Rahemtulla

Zahida Rahemtulla is a playwright and short story writer currently based between Vancouver and Toronto. She has been a resident at the Banff Centre in Alberta, the Stratford Theatre Festival, and Millay Colony for the Arts in rural New York. Her first plays, The Wrong Bashir and the Frontliners, have been shortlisted for many awards,…

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Sindy Angel

Sindy Angel is Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) practitioner, producer, and arts administrator born and raised in Cali, Colombia. With a strong passion for social outreach, she started the first theatre program in the women’s prison in her hometown, and co-founded a theatre company coordinating and performing shows and workshops with and for communities facing…

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Aya Mhana

Aya Mhana is a Syrian-born singer, songwriter, and oud player. With a bachelor degree in education, she worked as a community broker and now she is involved in the digital marketing field as a way of keeping up with the changes in our lives. As an artist who inhabits the crossroad between nations, Aya is…

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Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg’s answer.    I look forward to working with the women of The Shoe Project every year! The learning and inspiration we find in the rehearsal hall, or even on…

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Sarah Weatherwax

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Sarah Weatherwax’s answer.   I wrote something at the beginning of the rehearsal process about the 10th Anniversary show, for this show: ‘Listen with an open heart. Learn with an open mind.…

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Alison Matthews

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Alison Matthews’s answer.   When Katherine Govier contacted me about coaching for the Vancouver chapter of The Shoe Project, I thought it sounded interesting. Much of my work is with actors, and…

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Momoye Sugiman

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work? This is Momoye Sugiman’s answer.   Back in the summer of 2011, Katherine contacted me about her proposal for a women’s memoir writing workshop focusing on shoes as a launching point. What an exciting concept!…

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Conni Massing

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work? This is Conni Massing’s answer. . I was thrilled to receive an invitation last year to participate in the first Edmonton iteration of The Shoe Project, working as a writing mentor to the women in…

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Barb Howard

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work? This is Barb Howard’s answer.   The reason I took on the work of writing mentor in my first Shoe Project in 2017 is different from the reason I’ve taken on the work since then.…

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Leah Cherniak

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Leah Cherniak’s answer.   I have worked in theatre all my adult life—as an actor, director, teacher and coach. Part of what I love about working in theatre is the necessary act…

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Denise Clarke

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Denise Clarke’s answer.    When answering the question of why I chose to take on the work of The Shoe Project, I need only tell you that it was one conversation with Katherine…

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Caroline Adderson

We invited the Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Caroline Adderson’s answer.   When Katherine Govier invited me to be the Vancouver mentor, I jumped at the chance. I was an ESL teacher for 12 years, and I remembered how fulfilling it…

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Nan Hughes Poole

Banff mezzo-soprano Nan Hughes Poole was the voice coach for The Shoe Project in Canmore that ran during the pandemic in 2021. For those who haven’t met Nan yet, she’s an incredibly warm person who immediately makes you feel at ease. She gives the participants all the tools they need to tell their stories in…

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Alissa York

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Alissa York’s answer.   I took on this work because I was so impressed and moved by a Shoe Project performance I attended in Toronto. From the first workshop session, it was…

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Helen Rolfe

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Helen Rolfe’s answer.   When asked why I joined as a writing mentor for The Shoe Project, the answer is quick to form: the work is deeply meaningful and has incredible purpose.…

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Katherine Govier

We invited The Shoe Project mentors and coaches to respond to the following question: Why have you taken on this work?  This is Katherine Govier’s answer.    People ask me why I have taken on this work—why when I’m busy, when I could be doing my own writing, when I could be holidaying in Mexico,…

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Michelle Garcia

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Read the reflections of Michelle Garcia.   “I overcame my fear of speaking publicly with my Shoe Project participation, especially in my case with a physical…

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Lucie Darshan

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Read the reflections of Lucie Darshan.   “The Shoe Project made me realize how incredibly connected we all are. It made me see the similarities in…

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Fabiola Menares

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Read the reflections of Fabiola Menares.   “The Shoe Project helped me to see my whole life as a graceful poem written on a puzzle where…

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Elia Lopez

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. We received this video message from Elia López.   Produced by Nurdjana de Rijcke   Elia López was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. Elia Lopez moved…

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Antonina Natalukha

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. We received this video message from Antonina Natalukha. Her story shows her incredible resilience and power to overcome hardship.   Produced by Nurdjana de Rijcke   Antonina…

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Yasmin Lash

Yasmin Lash sent this letter of appreciation to Katherine Govier, the novelist and founder of The Shoe Project. With Yasmin’s permission, we were gratefully publishing it on social media. And then, we asked the Shoe Project alumnae, please write to us in response to the following question: What does it mean to you to be…

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Saima Hussain

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project? We asked The Shoe Project participants to write to us about their experience in The Project. This is a reminiscence we received from alumna Saima Hussain.   “Here I met the incredibly resilient and wise women.”   The Shoe Project was about…

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Roxana Goerlitz

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Watch and read the reflections of Roxana Goerlitz.     “It was one of the best decisions that I have taken in my life.”   Have…

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Nurdjana de Rijcke

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Watch and read the reflections of Nurdjana de Rijcke.     “It was for me a way of closing certain chapters and leaving certain things behind…

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Noriko Ohsada

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. We received this beautiful message from Noriko Ohsada.   Produced by Nurdjana de Rijcke   Noriko Ohsada immigrated from Japan in 1991. With her husband, Kaoru,…

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Monica Kim

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. We received this video message from Monica Kim.   Produced by Nurdjana de Rijcke   Monica Kim immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 2016 to…

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Manisha Shrestha

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. We received this video message from Manisha Shrestha who resides currently in Kathmandu, Nepal. She lived in Canada from 2013 until 2017.   Produced by Nurdjana…

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Helen O’Neill

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Watch and read the reflections of Helen O’Neill.   Produced by Nurdjana de Rijcke   “I am proud of what I have done.”   My name…

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Freweini Berhane

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Read the reflections of Freweini Berhane.   “I had the honour to be one of the first and youngest participants in the project.”   The Shoe…

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Filiz Dogan

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Read the reflections of Filiz Dogan.   “The Shoe Project made me feel like at home in Canada.”   I felt like Yasmin Lash is expressing…

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Clara Guerrero

What does it mean for you to be part of the Shoe Project?  We asked The Shoe Project alumnae to write to us about their experience in The Project. Read the reflections of Clara Guerrero.   “I’m happy that it happened in my life.”   When I first started with The Shoe Project, I thought…

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Sarah Weatherwax

Sarah Weatherwax is an actor and Designated Linklater Voice Teacher based in Toronto, Ontario. She has taught voice for the actor in numerous studios and schools, including Shakespeare & Company, Straeon Acting Studios and Brock University. She has extensive experience as a theatre actor and has done voice acting for more than 20 years, working…

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Anne Simpson

Anne Simpson is the first writing mentor of The Shoe Project in Antigonish. She is the author of three novels: Speechless (2020), Falling (2008), and Canterbury Beach (2001), as well as five poetry collections, and various works of non-fiction. Four of her books have been included in the Globe and Mail’s 100 Best Books of…

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Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg is an innovative dance artist, choreographer, and writer. As the artistic director of Tara Cheyenne Performance (TCP), she has created and performed kinetic theatrical expressions of the ever strange and wonderful human experience. Since graduating from Simon Fraser University (SFU), Tara has been writing and performing unique signature works that have garnered…

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Nan Hughes Poole

We are delighted that Banff mezzo-soprano Nan Hughes Poole is the Voice Coach again for The Shoe Project in Canmore in 2021.. For those who haven’t met Nan yet, she’s an incredibly warm person who immediately makes you feel at ease. She gives the participants all the tools they need to tell their stories in…

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Denise Clarke

Denise Clarke C.M. is the Associate Artist of One Yellow Rabbit Theatre. In 2018 she wrote and launched The Big Secret Book, An Intense Guide For Creating Performance Theatre. She is a member of the Order of Canada and holds an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Calgary.

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Denise Fujiwara

Denise is an innovative choreographer, dancer, teacher, actor and impresario. She has garnered multiple honours, including the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Muriel Sherrin Award for international dance achievement. As a dance artist, Denise has over 40 years of intensive experience. Her mentors include Japanese butoh master Natsu Nakajima and John Tarrant Roshi of the Pacific Zen…

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Amena Shehab

Amena is a Syrian Canadian actress and writer. She studied at the High Institute of Theatre in Damascus and worked with Al Jazeera Children’s Channel and other local theatre companies in Syria and Qatar.   Edmonton’s theatrical projects have spoken to her as a woman, a mother, and an immigrant. Her first play in Edmonton…

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Helen Rolfe

Helen is a professional writer and editor who won acclaim for her book Women Explorers: One Hundred Years of Courage and Audacity, a collection of portraits of pioneering women adventurers. She is also the co-author of the English version of Japanese alpinist Junko Tabei’s memoir Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei.  …

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Momoye Sugiman

Born and raised in Toronto, Momoye is a veteran ESL teacher with a keen interest in anti-racist education and a passion for helping newcomers nurture their creativity and empower themselves. Since the inception of The Shoe Project, she has been involved as an ESL coach, copy editor and recruiter. Momoye holds a BA in English…

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Barb Howard

Barb Howard has published a short story collection and four novels. She won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction and the Exporting Alberta Award. Barb is a former lawyer and an established writing workshop facilitator who has been President of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, Writer-in-Residence for the Calgary Public Library and editor of FreeFall…

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Ngozi Onyinye

Ngozi Onyinye earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. She received awards for academic achievements and recognitions for reaching out to students through faith-related publications as an Editor-in-chief, Editorial Adviser, and Electoral Secretary while serving as a Campus Journalist for different Editorial boards. She has earned certifications as an International…

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Conni Massing

Conni is an award-winning writer working in theatre, film, and television. Stage credits include Matara and The Invention of Romance, both premiered by Workshop West Playwrights Theatre, Oh! Christmas Tree (Roxy Performance Series), and her widely-produced stage adaptations of W.O Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid and Bruce Allen Powe’s The Aberhart Summer. Conni has worked…

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Shanga Karim

Shanga Karim was a journalist and women’s activist in Kurdistan, editor-in-chief for a women’s rights newspaper that focused on violence against women, honour killing, and female genital mutilation. She holds a B.A. in Media Studies. She came to Canada in 2015. It was difficult with all the changes in Canada after leaving her life in…

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Katherine Govier

Letter From Our Founder It has been eleven years since I started The Shoe Project in Toronto in 2011. I knew newcomer women who had much to give to Canada were often sidelined by a lack of expressive writing and speaking skills in English. Women especially- whether journalists, teachers, psychologists, nannies, or homemakers- were kept…

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Katherine Govier

Katherine is the founder of The Shoe Project and Board Member Emerita. She has published ten novels published in seven countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, and France. Her novel, Creation, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. A winner of the Marian Engel Award for Women Writers,…

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Roya Chalaki

Roya is an IT professional from Iran. She is a four times alumna of The Shoe Project in Calgary and is serving as local coordinator for the 2019-2020 cycle. She has brought new members to the project and has served as an ambassador to school classrooms.

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Danielle McLaughlin

Danielle was the director of education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Education Trust for twenty years, working closely with the late Alan Borovoy. She has an interest in disabilities and brings tremendous experience in building and maintaining a non-profit and working within the education sphere.

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Nick Rundall

Nick is a retired book publisher and former member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Canadian Publishers. He has been handling our finances and serves as Treasurer to the Board of Directors.

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Sujata Thapa

Sujata Thapa-Battarai is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning at the University of Toronto. Her research interest is gender and transportation in the cities of Global South. She is currently a recipient of a Vanier Scholarship by Canadian government. She is coordinator of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at Ontario Institute of Studies…

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Roya Chalaki

Roya Chalaki immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2015. Throughout her life, she has been an avid learner and a passionate reader. The Shoe Project has been Roya’s most serious involvement in writing. She participated three times in the Calgary workshop and developed a keen interest to help others to tell their stories. In 2019…

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Noriko Ohsada

Noriko immigrated from Japan in 1991. She created four personal stories with The Shoe Project in the past few years. Through these experiences, she has gained great confidence and useful skills such as public speaking and writing. Now she is ready to move forward to leadership and management roles and has been the Coordinator for…

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Barb Howard

Barb Howard has published a short story collection and four novels. She won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction and the Exporting Alberta Award. Barb is a former lawyer and an established writing workshop facilitator who has been President of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, Writer-in-Residence for the Calgary Public Library and editor of FreeFall…

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Olive Senior

Olive Senior was born in Jamaica and lives in Toronto. She has worked internationally as a creative writing teacher and lecturer on Caribbean literature and culture. She is on the faculty of the Humber School for Writers, Toronto and has taught in the writing programmes at University of Toronto, St Lawrence University, and Barnard College,…

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Alison Matthews

Alison Matthews is a veteran voice artist and coach with a wealth of experience in film and radio and a master’s degree in theatre voice training. As an instructor, she has provided individual coaching and workshops for actors, politicians, academics and business professionals. She is a founding faculty member of the Arts Club Actor’s Intensive…

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Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson was born and raised in Alberta. After high school, she joined the youth program Katimavik and spent a year living in different communities across Canada doing an eclectic range of volunteer work. She then settled in Vancouver where she attended the University of British Columbia, earning a B.Ed. with a concentration in Creative…

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Kate Lynch

Kate Lynch is an award-winning actor, playwright and professor with experience in theatre, television and radio. She is also a theatre director whose many credits include French Without Tears by Terrence Rattigan and Star Chamber by Noel Coward for the Shaw Festival, an all-female A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Theatre Passe Muraille, and three plays…

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Leah Cherniak

Leah Cherniak is an indispensable member of The Shoe Project.  As our innovative voice and drama coach for almost a decade, she has worked patiently with the participants so that they can deliver their personal stories confidently on a public stage. Leah is an award-winning director, playwright, actor, and teacher. After receiving her BA from the University…

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Katherine Govier

Katherine Govier is the author of ten novels and three collections of short stories. Her novel Creation was a New York Times Notable book of 2010. The Ghost Bush, the story of Hokusai’s daughter and collaborator, was published in Japan, the US, the UK, Spain, France and other countries. She has won The Toronto Book…

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Cordelia Tang

Cordelia Tang joined The Shoe Project workshop in 2013, two years after she arrived in Canada as a landed immigrant. In China, she had been working as an editor for over nine years. After graduating from the Master of Information program, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, she started working for The Shoe Project as…

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