Meet the experts: Green Drinks Edmonton celebrates local literature

At our upcoming Green Drinks on April 2, you’ll get to rub elbows with local writers, get autographs, write a story — this might just be our most fun and creative Green Drinks yet.

An amazing mix of authors, poets, magazine editors and other literati will be in the room to talk with you about the ever-changing written word. We’ll have a fun “RAD-LIBs” activity to help you meet new people (think MadLibs, without the trademark violation, and contributed by local writers). You’ll be able to make your shelfie even better with the sweet, sweet local literature that has been donated for door prizes. You know you don’t want to miss this. Advance tickets are still available on Eventbrite.

Meet our featured expert guests:

MartyChan-headshotMarty Chan writes plays for adults and books for kids. He’s best known for his hit plays Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl and The Bone House. He has just released his ninth book, The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate. Marty lives in Forest Heights with his wife Michelle and their two cats.


1236542_10151845050981928_487805223_n-1 Diana Davidson‘s bestselling debut novel Pilgrimage, which coincidentally will be the subject of the next #yegbookclub, was published by Brindle & Glass in September 2013. Heralded as a work of “frontier feminism,” Pilgrimage is a book about the violent intimacy of a small place and is set around the Lac St. Anne Métis settlement, Edmonton, and St. Albert in the 1890s. Davidson’s other writing has been long-listed for the Canada Writes CBC creative nonfiction prize (2012) and has won the Writers’ Guild of Alberta “Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize” (2010).  Her work has appeared in 40 Below, Alberta Views, Avenue Edmonton, Little Fiction, The Winnipeg Review, Women’s Words as well as the academic anthologies Analyzing Mad Men and Spectral America.  She has a Ph.D. in literature and has taught at the University of Alberta and the University of York, U.K.  She was chosen as one of Edmonton’s “Top 40 Under 40” by Avenue Magazine in 2011.

RayanneDoucet-headshotRayanne Doucet has been working and playing in the art and culture community in Edmonton for over a decade. Rayanne is a published poet and freelance writer with an extensive background with non-profit boards, marketing, fundraising, organizational leadership, accounting and financial leadership, and public speaking. She has had the privilege of sitting on numerous boards of directors, committees and grant juries to support the work of Alberta artists. Her self-published chapbook (The Stories in My Skin) was made available Nov. 1, 2013. Rayanne is dedicated to building a vibrant community for poets and writers in Edmonton.

 Caterina Edwards color 2911Caterina Edwards writes CNF, fiction and drama. She has published five books. Her last, Finding Rosa: A Mother With Alzheimer’s/A Daughter’s Search for the Past, is a family memoir that explores the often difficult relationships between mothers and daughters. The next one, which will be published next year, is a novel; The Sicilian Wife, set in Sicily and Alberta, telling the story of a mafia princess and is packed with passion, violence, terrorism, betrayal and revenge. Her work has won many awards and has been translated into Italian and French. She confesses she is obsessed with multiple selves and cultures, with private memory and public history, with here and there.

Poetry is a source of energy, entertainment and joy shared by all societies. The Edmonton Poetry Festival celebrates poetry in all its forms. We get people from across the city involved as creators and audiences. Doesn’t matter what age you are, what culture you come from, or whether you fall for slam poetry or jump at reading the classics. We build bridges with the human voice and the art of language. (Executive director Rayanne Doucet will represent the Edmonton Poetry Festival, which runs April 20–27, 2014.)

Winter2014CoverGlass Buffalo is a literary magazine in search of mythic power. It collects the words and stories of emerging writers at the University of Alberta in order to cultivate a creative literary community. Also, every issue profiles a U of A alumnus working in a creative writing career in order to share their success and pass on advice to current students. The magazine is published twice a year, in the winter (March) and the fall (September). Recently, it was awarded the honour of being named Best New Magazine by the Alberta Magazine Awards. Find out how to subscribe to or buy a copy of Glass Buffalo on their website! Glass Buffalo will be represented by editor Matthew Stepanic.


mikeyhammMikey Hamm (Mikey Maybe) is a local writer and Old Ugly recording artist. His debut album, Honey+Bread, was CJSR’s #4 played album of 2013, and was short-listed for the Edmonton Music Prize. By day, Mikey makes short documentaries about people with disabilities, and works as co-founder of Anthony at Your Service. He is currently writing YA sci-fi.




Michael Hingston is the books columnist for the Edmonton Journal. Called “one of the sharpest young literary critics in this country” by 49th Shelf, his journalism has also appeared in the Globe and Mail, Salon, Eighteen Bridges magazine, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. His first novel, The Dilettantes (Freehand), was a no. 1 regional bestseller and received a starred review in Quill & Quire. It is currently being translated into German, which delights Hingston to no end.

alexisphotoAlexis Kienlen is a poet, journalist and fiction dabbler who currently works as an agricultural journalist. Her first book of poetry She Dreams in Red was published in 2007, and her second, 13, in 2011. Alexis has also taught creative writing to teens and has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction pieces in publications all across Canada.

Jessica Kluthe, recently named one of Avenue’s Top 40 Under 40, is a full-time writing instructor at MacEwan University. After receiving her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Victoria, her first book, Rosina, The Midwife, was selected for publication. Since its release — and landing on the Edmonton Journal’s list of best sellers for 10 weeks — she’s published shorter work in three anthologies and has started writing a Young Adult novel.

LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival is an annual party of great new nonfiction writing.  We feature passionate panel discussions, headline authors like Dan Savage and Alexander McCall Smith, workshops for emerging writers and fantastic events that combine terrific books with music, food, wine, and unique experiences. LitFest will be represented by Liz Greenway.

Peter Midgley copyPeter Midgley is a writer and storyteller from Edmonton. Counting Teeth: A Namibian Story, an account of a two-month journey he and his daughter made to his country of birth, will be released September 2014. Peter has performed his stories and poetry in Africa, Europe and North America and has published three children’s books. One of these, Thuli’s Mattress, won the International Board on Books for Young People/Asahi Award for Literacy Promotion and has been translated into 27 languages. He is also the author of two plays and a collection of poetry. Among other things, he is a citizen of three countries (Canada, South Africa and Namibia), and he is the president of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. A second collection of poetry, Unquiet Bones, will be published by Wolsack & Wynn in 2015.


Omar Mouallem I’m a National Magazine Awards nominated writer living in Edmonton, Alberta. My stories have appeared in The Walrus, Swerve, VICE, enRoute and Eighteen Bridges, and my column “Footnotes” appears in Metro News every weekend. I’m also the author of Amazing Cats and continue to write about the planet’s most popular pet. In addition to writing, I also teach at Guru Digital Arts College and run creative workshops for adults and youth on everything from social media to hip-hop. In my not-so-secret other life, I rap, performing under the moniker A.O.K.

NeWest Press has been publishing radically rewarding literature from Western Canada for over thirty years. Beginning life as a monthly journal called the NeWest Review, the Press now publishes 10 books a year, ranging from literary novels, play collections, poetry, mysteries, non-fiction and more. Notable NeWest titles include Icefields by Thomas Wharton, Blood Relations and Other Plays by Sharon Pollock, Chorus of Mushrooms by Hiromi Goto, Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks and The Shore Girl by Fran Kimmel. NeWest Press is especially known for taking chances on new authors, with the Nunatak First Fiction series being the longest-running first book series in the country. (Marketing and production co-ordinator Matt Bowes will be joining us to represent NeWest Press.)

Jason Lee Norman is the 2014 Edmonton Public Library writer-in-residence. He is also the creator of 40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology. Jason, along with co-founder Kasia Gawlak, is also behind the creative writing collective #yegwords (Words with Friends) which hosts events celebrating Edmonton’s creative writing community, including the very popular Word Crawl. In 2012 Jason published his first collection of short fiction, Americas — you should read it.

On Spec is a quarterly journal showcasing short speculative fiction by emerging Canadian writers. On Spec has been publishing thought-provoking works of science fiction, fantasy, horror and magic realism for 25 years. The Aurora Award-winning team of volunteer editors will be represented by Brent Jans.

Caroline Stuart has been telling tales all her life. It was when she found The Alberta League Encouraging Storytelling (TALES) that she found a home for her tale telling. TALES has operated since 1982 as a non-profit organization promoting the tradition of oral storytelling across Alberta. The focus of TALES as an organization is to work within communities raising an awareness of identity through the stories we carry.  Public performances, presentations and workshops celebrate many different types of stories and are open to all. Caroline started performing with TALES at their Annual Storytelling Festival some 20 years ago, and finds it a rewarding, challenging experience. (Festival 2014: May 24–25  The festival’s open workshops have provided Caroline with many opportunities to expand her interests, skills and ability in the craft of storytelling. Over the years, Caroline has also taken on leadership roles within TALES and is currently the president.  

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta has represented professional and emerging writers in Alberta since 1980. If you write, you simply need to know about their many programs, services, conferences, and writing retreats. We are thrilled that the Writers’ Guild of Alberta will be represented by board president Peter Midgley.



5 thoughts on “Meet the experts: Green Drinks Edmonton celebrates local literature”

  1. Wayne Arthurson

    Why is there a cover charge of $10 in advance/$15 at the door to meet local writers/literary types. You can set something up at a local pub like this and not charge. There are free readings and gatherings of writers almost every week in this city, plus the WGA does an events like this every month, free of charge. Weird that you are asking folks to pay to get into this.

    1. Wayne, Thank you for the sensible question! All the Green Drinks Edmonton mixers have a nominal cover charge which covers our costs to produce the events and subsidize our other programmes and social media. Since we are a volunteer-run organization with no membership fees, we have no other method of fund-raising at present that could cover such expenses. We have kept the fees as low as we can – compared to other networking events of similar size in Edmonton, it’s a bargain – and we offer free admission to our volunteers.

  2. Wayne Arthurson

    What cost? Are you renting the facility? Why? You can save money by getting a room at a local bar which wouldn’t cost anything. There will be still networking. Compared to all the other writer/literary events in the city, in which people can network with writers, it’s not really a bargain

    1. Hi, Wayne. This season we are hosting all of our monthly Green Drinks events at the Yellowhead Brewery because it has a larger capacity than a smaller bar. Our events have grown in popularity over the last few years, requiring us to rent a venue that can accommodate more guests (currently we host up to 145 guests per event). This Local Literature event, as Deb noted, is part of our monthly Green Drinks series. Local Literature is the theme for April. We charge $10/$15 for every event, regardless of the theme. As Deb pointed out, this nominal fee covers The Local Good’s organizational costs for the entire year, which includes supplies for each Green Drinks event. It is practically our organization’s only source of income. The WGA charges a $70/year membership fee, and members can then attend events for free. By not charging a membership fee, The Local Good’s guests are able to pay just for the events they are interested in attending. There are other free literary events in the city, which are great, but they are usually subsidized by some other income (EPL has other sources of income, Audrey’s profits from book sales at events, etc.) Please let us know if you have other questions. If you decide to join us, we’d be more than happy to host you.

  3. Pingback: Next Green Drinks Event: Local Literature – Edmonton's Next Gen

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