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 B.C., 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, will be 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, as well as a small number of film and theatre festivals. Meghan has worked in marketing and fundraising for multiple arts organizations in the Lower Mainland, including the Vancouver International Film Festival and Just For Laughs NorthWest. She has two degrees from the University of Victoria, and is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. meghanbell.com / @meghanlbell
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 living on unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). Her memoir, How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir, won the 2013 Vancouver Book Award. She is the author of the Lambda Award-winning novel Sub Rosa, and editor of the anthologies Fist of the Spider Women: Fear and Queer Desire and With A Rough Tongue. Her newest book, Where the words end and my body begins, is a collection of glosa form poems. She currently teaches creative writing at Douglas College and the University of British Columbia and mentors at several community-driven art and healing spaces.
Lynn Easton is a freelance writer and a graduate of Simon Fraser University's Writer’s Studio. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in The Malahat Review, the Caitlin Press anthology Boobs: Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts, and the Globe and Mail. Lynn was also the 2016 winner of The Malahat Review’s Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize. She lives with her family in a dwindling forest in Maple Ridge, BC, where she’s writing a series of CNF essays on Intergenerational Feminism.
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, she is a recipient of Columbia's Scholastic Press Association Award in NYC for non-fiction, and a Toronto Arts Council Grant for Playwriting. She has published poems with Room, Black Moss Press, and Discord & Din; essays for WANL’s WORD, and creative non-fiction for Gailey Road. A background in social work and journalism, Stacy’s life and work has always revolved around ‘story’. Stacy’s play, After the Sirens, premiered at the St. John’s Short Play Festival in September 2018, and she is currently pacing herself in the writing of another play, a short story and relishing the reads for Room. StacyGardner.ca for more info or FB's Quills on the Edge. She lives in St. John’s, NL with her young son. @GardnerStacy
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.
Taryn Hubbard joined the Room collective in November 2012. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Capilano Review, CV2, WOMANZINE, Harlequin Creature, echolocation, EVENT, filling Station, and others. Her first chapbook, RE:, was published in July 2014 by dancing girl press. She lives in Surrey, B.C. and blogs at tarynhubbard.com and tweets at @tarynhubbard.
Jessica Johns is a writer of Cree ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory of Northern Alberta. She is the poetry editor for PRISM international, living and working on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. She is the 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 her tweeting at @stellaabrenda.
Tamara Jong is a Montreal-born mixed-race writer of Chinese and European ancestry. She lives in Guelph, ON. Her work has appeared in Ricepaper, Room, and The New Quarterly. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU.
Nailah King is a lover of pop culture, gifs, and literature, of course! She is an alumna from UBC in English Literature and moved to Toronto last year to chase those publishing dreams. She is currently working on a web series, a novel, and retaining her sanity.
Chelene Knight is the author of the poetry collection Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award, and long-listed for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. 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 is managing editor at Room, programming director for the Growing Room Festival, and CEO of #LearnWritingEssentials. She often gives talks about home, belonging and belief, inclusivity, and community building through authentic storytelling.
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.
Find out more about Chelene here and @LWEstudio (Twitter) @learnwritingessentials (Instagram)
Photo Credit: Jade Melnychuk
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 is a writer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her debut poetry collection is No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press, 2018), and she is also the author of a chapbook, Brotherly Love: Poems of Sappho and Charaxos (Frog Hollow Press, 2016). Her poems \ have appeared in journals across Canada and abroad, including Room Magazine, Literary Review of Canada, Grain Magazine, Versal, Prism international, and The Fiddlehead. She has been selected as a finalist for prizes including the CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize, the Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. Find her on Twitter @thisisannick.
Brigid MacAulay is a freelance writer, editor and dance artist. Originally from Ottawa, she received her Hon. BA (English and Religion majors; minor in Art History) from the University of Toronto, came to Vancouver the very next day, and has made the city home ever since. As a professional dancer, she has studied and performed in Toronto, New York City, Guelph and Vancouver.
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. You can follow her on Twitter at @alissakeiko.
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 graduated in 2013 with a BA in English Literature from Simon Fraser University. She is Room's Fiction submissions coordinator and a writer for Geyser Music, and she writes poetry and short stories in her spare time. Her work has appeared in Western Living Magazine, The Lyre, SCRATCH, The Pinnacle, Geyser, and The Peak. Follow her on Twitter: @rosalie_morris.
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.
Ezi Odozor is a Nigerian-born Canadian writer based in Toronto. Her work focuses on themes of identity, race, and intimacy. More information about her work can be found online at www.eziodozor.com. Ezi was also published by Room in issue 39.4.
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 communications coordinator 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 graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Arts, with a double major in English and Creative Writing and a minor in Russian studies. At Dalhousie, she took part in workshops with Carole Langille, Sue Goyette, Jamie Forester, and Alexander MacLeod at Saint Mary’s University. While in university, she joined the editorial board of Dalhousie’s literary magazine, Fathom, and became Dr. Yuri Leving’s editorial assistant for The Nabokov Online Journal. Since graduating, she has worked as an online editor for Momentum magazine. She is currently working as a copy writer and social media specialist at a marketing agency called Y5 Creative.
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 an arts administrator and wanna-be writer originally from Coldstream, B.C. (unceded Okanagan Territory). Since moving to Vancouver to attend university in 2010, they have worked at UBC, Full Circle: First Nations Performance, and the Vancouver Writers Fest. Life goals include consuming every piece of media with a bisexual and/or genderqueer character and petting every cat and dog. You can find them on Twitter at @RELspence
Sylvia Symons is a graduate of The Writer's Studio 2016 in the poetry genre. Her work appears in EVENT, Geist, emerge 16, Best Canadian Poetry 2016, and Room 40.1. Originally from Prince George, she lives with her family in Vancouver, where she teaches ESL at Langara College.
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.
Yilin Wang is a fiction writer, journalist, and poet who has lived in China, the U.S., Scotland, and Canada. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Grain, Contemporary Verse 2, LooseLeaf Magazine, Abyss & Apex, Cerebration, Matador Network, The Tyee, and Business Insider, as well as in the anthology The Best of Abyss & Apex Vol.2. Her short story "Drifters" was a finalist in The Malahat Review's Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction. A Creative Writing MFA candidate at UBC, Yilin is the assistant editor for Room issues 40.4 (Let's Make Contact) and 42.1 (Magic). You can learn more about her at www.yilinwang.com and find her on Twitter @yilinwriter.
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.
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, coordinated a non-profit women's rights campaign, and worked as a writing tutor. After living in Hong Kong and Singapore for many years, she is currently writing, editing, and doing graphic design in Vancouver, B.C. Follow her on twitter @kayitypes.