Nafiza Azad is a self-identified island girl. She has hurricanes in her blood and dreams of a time she can exist solely on mangoes and pineapple. Born in Lautoka, Fiji, she currently resides in BC, Canada where she reads too many books, watches too many Kdramas and writes stories about girls taking over the world. Her debut YA fantasy, THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME, was released by Scholastic in 2019.
Meghan Bell's writing has appeared in over a dozen literary magazines and publications across Canada, including Joyland, Grain, The Puritan, The New Quarterly, Carousel, Prairie Fire, and the anthology Tesseracts 21. Meghan has worked in marketing and as a grant writer for multiple arts organizations in the Lower Mainland, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, Just For Laughs NorthWest, and BrandLive (Skookum Festival, Honda Celebration of Light). She has two degrees from the University of Victoria, and is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Her first collection of short stories will be published by Book*hug in 2021. meghanbell.com / @meghanlbell. Photo credit: Erin Flegg.
Monica was born in the Philippines and moved to Canada in 2008. After graduating from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with a BFA, she worked in animation, publishing and editing, and as a graphic designer and trainer. Currently she is working for a financial technology company and has a side hustle as a graphic designer and web developer. She also dabbles in photography. Check out her portfolio at http://monicadesigns.ca/ .
Nancy Jo Cullen is a Calgary transplant who now lives in Kingston, ON. She’s the fourth recipient of the Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writer. Her fiction and poems have appeared in The Journey Prize, The Puritan, Grain, filling Station, Plenitude, Prairie Fire, This Magazine, Room and Arc Poetry Magazine. She has published three collections of poetry with Calgary’s Frontenac House Press. Her short story collection, Canary, was published in 2013 by Biblioasis. Her novel, The Western Alienation Merit Badge is forthcoming in 2019 with Wolsak and Wynn. She is mid-way through her fourth collection of poetry.
Amber Dawn is a writer and creative facilitator living on unceded Coast Salish Territories. She is the author of four books and the editor of three anthologies. All of her books are published with Arsenal Pulp Press. She currently teaches creative writing Douglas College, as well as guest mentors at several drop-in, community-driven spaces in the Downtown Eastside, an area impacted by poverty-related issues and beloved for its tenacity and creativity.
Emily Dundas Oke is an emerging artist and curator. A 2018 graduate of Philosophy and Visual Art (BA) from Thompson Rivers University, she has been the recipient of numerous awards and is an alumni of the TRU Indigenous Knowledge Makers program. Emily has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been an artist in residence at Nida Art Colony (Lithuania), Ideas Block (Lithuania) and the Kamloops Printmakers Society (Canada). She is currently the organizer and co-curator of the Indigenous Brilliance reading and performance series and holds a FPCC funded Indigenous Curatorial Assistant position at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver.
Candace Fertile has a PhD in English literature from the University of Alberta. She teaches English at Camosun College in Victoria, B.C. and writes book reviews for several Canadian publications. She joined the collective in 2004.
Stacy Gardner is a member of the Writers Guild of Canada and Playwrights Guild of Canada, recipient of Columbia's Scholastic Press Association Award in NYC for non-fiction, and a Toronto Arts Council Grant for Playwriting to support her staged production of Worms for Sale at Toronto's longest running feminist theatre: Alumnae Theatre. Stacy has published poems with Room, Black Moss Press, and Discord & Din; essays for WANL’sWORD, and creative non-fiction for Gailey Road. Stacy’s play, After the Sirens, premiered at the St. John’s Short Play Festival in September 2018, and she is currently producing and curating a youth-engaged play for the same festival in September 2019; and slowly but surely working on a full-length play Not My Circus, Not My Monkey - an exploration into trauma and attachment of children in foster care. A background in social work and journalism, Stacy’s life and work has always revolved around ‘story’ she currently holds the position of Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator in St. John’s, NL, where she lives with her young son, and facilitates creating writing workshops in her house. http://www.stacygardner.ca/
Sierra Skye Gemma is essayist, memoirist, and journalist. She has been published in The Globe and Mail, The New Quarterly, The Vancouver Sun, WestCoast Families, the Best Canadian Essays 2013 anthology, and elsewhere. Sierra’s work has won the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest, a National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer, and a National Newspaper Award in Long Feature. Find her online at sierraskyegemma.com and as @sierraskyegemma.
Leah Golob is a full-time journalist and freelance book critic. Her writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver Magazine, Vancouver Observer, and trade publications. She joined the Room collective in 2013 and now serves as the book reviews editor and on the editorial board. She has an MA in English literature from Brock University. Connect with her on Twitter @LeahGolob.
Jessica Johns is a nehiyaw aunty and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory of Northern Alberta. She is the managing editor of Room magazine and a co-organizer of the Indigenous Brilliance reading series, a collaborative series between Room and Massy Books celebrating Indigenous women/2SQ storytellers. She has been published in Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass Buffalo, CV2, SAD Magazine, Red Rising Magazine, The Rusty Toque, Poetry is Dead, and Bad Nudes, among others. Her short story, "The Bull of the Cromdale" was nominated for a 2019 National Magazine Award in fiction and her debut poetry chapbook, How Not to Spill, is out now with Rahila's Ghost Press.
Tamara Jong is a Montreal-born mixed-race writer of Chinese and European ancestry. Her work has appeared in Ricepaper, Room, Carte Blanche, The New Quarterly, Invisible Publishing and Body & Soul; Stories for Skeptics and Seekers. She is a graduate of The Writer's Studio (Simon Fraser University). You can find her on Twitter @bokchoygurl.
Chelene Knight is the author of the poetry collection Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award. Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals, plus the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. Her work is anthologized in Making Room, Love Me True, Sustenance, The Summer Book, and Black Writers Matter. The Toronto Star called Knight, “one of the storytellers we need most right now.” In addition to her work as a writer, Knight was the previous managing editor at Room (2016- June 2019), and programming director for the Growing Room Festival (2018, 2019), and now CEO of #LearnWritingEssentials and Breathing Space Creative. Knight is currently working on Junie, a novel set in Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley, forthcoming in 2020. She was selected as a 2019 Writers' Trust Rising Star by David Chariandy. cheleneknight.com @LWEstudio
Photo credit: Katherine Holland.
Mica is an MFA student at UBC and contributor to Room ("Tiny Parts," Issue 39.2). Her thesis project is a combination of comedic personal essays and original music, which is being developed into a podcast series. She is also the host of "Fainting Couch Feminists," a new podcast with Room. She is originally from Vernon, B.C. but is currently based in Vancouver.
Annick MacAskill’s poems have appeared in journals and anthologies across Canada and abroad, including Room, Plenitude, Prism, Canadian Notes & Queries, Arc, The Fiddlehead, Best Canadian Poetry, and The Stinging Fly. Her debut collection, No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press, 2018), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and shortlisted for the Atlantic Book Awards’ J.M. Abraham Poetry Award. Her second collection is due to be published by Gaspereau in the spring of 2020. She currently lives and writes in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) on the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq.
Alissa is a former Vancouverite now based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine, canlit.ca, 24 Hours Vancouver, and Room 37.3. She worked at Canadian Literature, a quarterly academic journal, where she helped research, write, edit, and code HTML for CanLit Guides, an online teaching resource for literature instructors.
Mridula Morgan has an MA in Education and has worked in the area of social services within the Lower Mainland for over thirty years. She identifies as an immigrant woman of colour and is committed to social justice through an anti-oppression lens. She is a wanna-be writer with a personal blog and is currently working on a family memoir.
Rose Morris has been a member of Room's editorial collective since 2013. She holds a Masters degree in literature from the University of Victoria. In addition to her role at Room, Rose is a content writer for a marketing agency, a volunteer for The Malahat Review, and occasionally a poet.
Navneet Nagra is a writer, reader and knitter. Currently she is working on two books of poetry and will be featured in Lemon Hound's New Vancouver Poets Folio. You can follow her @stelladalle and penpencilpoison.weebly.com.
Natalie North worked in journalism for a decade, both in British Columbia and South Korea, before she moved into charity marketing and communications in 2017. She studied creative writing at the University of Victoria and loves nothing more than reading a nuanced profile and writing down everything her grandmother says.
After completing a Master of Journalism at UBC, Yvonne Robertson worked as a journalist and editor in Vancouver, writing and editing long-form feature pieces as well as short news stories. She’s since switched gears slightly, returning to Toronto and taking a position as a public affairs officer at a non-profit. An avid reader, passionate about arts and culture, arts activism, and social justice, Yvonne looks to find ways to expose and subvert systemic injustices, particularly through writing and artistic expression. She also love dancing and cats.
Rebecca Russell is a freelance editor, teacher, and arts administrator. She has held various positions in publishing, ESL education, and film and theatre and, apart from a year spent abroad, has lived in Toronto for the past several years. She holds a BA in English and women & gender studies from the University of Toronto.
Geffen Semach lives in London, England, where she works a Literary Agent's Assistant to Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander. Geffen has also worked at Profile Books and in foreign rights at Andrew Nurnberg Associates in London. She has also been an online editor for Momentum magazine, a creative copywriter at the marketing agency Y5 Creative, as well as held an editorial assistant position with The Nabokov Online Journal. Geffen has a Bachelors from Dalhousie and completed the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University in 2018.
jaye is a libra sun, sagittarius rising, scorpio moon. jaye is a displaced indigenous person living, creating & occupying on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations territories. they are a co-organizer of the Indigenous Brilliance reading series, a collaborative series between Room Magazine and Massy Books celebrating Indigenous women/2SQ storytellers. you can find them and their hot takes on twitter at @jayesimpson94.
Arielle Spence is a literary arts enthusiast who grew up in Coldstream, B.C. (unceded Syilx Territory). After receiving a BA from UBC in 2015, they have spent the last 4 years working for arts and education non-profits, most recently Pain BC. They were the founding Festival Director for Growing Room in 2017, and were honoured to edit Issue 42.1 of Room, "Magic."
Sylvia Symons grew up in northern B.C. and currently lives with her family in Vancouver, where she teaches ESL at a community college. Her work appears in lit-mags and anthologies including EVENT, Geist, Best Canadian Poetry 2016, Room, CV2, and Prairie Fire. Walking up or down a non-moving escalator requires all her focus and courage.
Rachel Thompson's collection of poetry, Galaxy, was published by Anvil Press and won SFU’s First Book Competition in 2011. The contest judge, Gregory Scofield, wrote in his comments that the book had “Wonderful and clear imagery as well as a ‘real’ and ‘true’ sense of place, love, longing, family, and the constant struggle and re-negotiation of self and experience.”
Rachel has edited four issues with Room, Mythologies of Loss, Murder, Lust, and Larceny, In Translation, and Family Secrets. She was formerly Room's Managing Editor and is currently our Poetry Coordinator. Rachel hosts the Lit Mag Love Podcast. Find her at rachelthompson.co.
Isabella Wang is a young, emerging Chinese-Canadian writer from Vancouver, B.C. Her poetry is published in Room Magazine, The /tEmz/ Review, Train Journal, and Looseleaf Magazine. Her essays are published in carte blanche, Invisible Blog, and The New Quarterly. At 18, she is a two-time finalist and the youngest writer shortlisted for The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Essay Contest. She is studying English at SFU, co-ordinating the Dead Poets Reading series, volunteering as the youth advocate for the Federation of BC Writers, working with Books on the Radio, and interning at Room.
Yilin Wang is a writer, poet, editor, and Chinese-to-English translator who has lived in China, the U.S., Scotland, and Canada. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, The Malahat Review, Grain, carte blanche, Contemporary Verse 2, Arc Poetry Magazine, LooseLeaf Magazine, Matador Network, The Tyee, The Toronto Star, Business Insider, and the anthology Best of Abyss & Apex Vol.2. Her work has been shortlisted for The University of East Anglia’s David T.K Wong Fellowship, a finalist for the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction, and longlisted for the Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award. Yilin is a Creative Writing MFA candidate at UBC and has served as an assistant editor for Room issues 40.4 (Let's Make Contact) and 42.1 (Magic). Find her online at www.yilinwang.com and on Twitter @yilinwriter.
Kayi Wong graduated from UBC in 2014 with a BA in English literature. She has worked at a children's library, an independent bookstore, interned at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and coordinated a non-profit women's rights campaign. After living in Hong Kong and Singapore for many years, she is currently doing publicity and marketing for publishing folks in Vancouver, B.C. Follow her on twitter @kayitypes.