2017 – Bruce Hunter
Bruce Hunter is the author of the award-winning novel In the Bear’s House (2009); five books of poetry, including Two O’Clock Creek (2010) which won the Acorn-Plantos Peoples’ Poetry Award given to a volume of poetry that is accessible to all people in its use of language and imagery; and a collection of short stories, Country Music Country (1996) which was broadcast on CBC Radio. His poems, short stories, essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in over seventy publications, and his work has been translated into Italian, Mandarin and Romanian.
For the past twenty years, Bruce has taught English and Liberal Studies at Seneca College as well as stints teaching creative writing at the Banff Centre and York University. He has served as Writer in Residence at both the Banff Centre and Richmond Hill Public Library.
Now retired from teaching Bruce writes full time in addition to hosting workshops on creativity and disability. Bruce is renowned in the Canadian literary community for his generosity and support of emerging and established authors.
2016 - Micheline Maylor
Micheline Maylor is the City of Calgary’s 2016 – 2018 Poet Laureate. Her newest poetry collection, Little Wildheart, was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch award for experimental poetry, and is slated for publication in spring of 2017 with the University of Alberta Press. Her second collection Whirr and Click was published by Frontenac House (2013) and landed her on the Pat Lowther Memorial Award shortlist. She serves as guest editor at Frontenac Press’ renowned Quartet series for 2013-17. She serves as the Past-president and co-founder of Freefall Literary Society, and is the editor-in-chief of FreeFall literary magazine.
2015 – Lee Kvern
Lee Kvern is the award-winning author of short stories and novels. Her short stories in 7 Ways To Sunday have garnered the CBC National Literary Award, Western Magazine Award, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, and the Howard 'O' Hagan Award. Afterall was selected for Canada Reads (Regional), and also nominated for Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, published in Event, Descant, Air Canada enRoute and subTerrain.
2014 – Rosemary Nixon
Rosemary Nixon is a prize-winning short story writer, novelist, and freelance writer. Her collection Mostly Country was shortlisted for the Howard O’Hagan Award. Her collection The Cock’s Egg won the Howard O’Hagan Award. Her novel Kalila was shortlisted for the Georges Bugnet Award and longlisted for the ReLit award. She has published in literary magazines across Canada and discovered the beginnings of Are You Ready to Be Lucky? on a fellowship at Hawthornden Castle, Scotland. Her home is in Calgary.
2013 – Barb Howard
Barb Howard has published 3 novels and, most recently, the short story collection Western Taxidermy. She is co-editor of the nonfiction anthology Embedded on the Home Front: Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge. Barb is a former lawyer who facilitates creative writing workshops for adults and teens at various venues (online and onsite). Barb is past president of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, a past board member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society and dANDdelion Magazine, and a past editor of FreeFall Magazine.
2012 – Brian Brennan
Brian Brennan is a Canadian journalist, broadcaster, musician, and writer who specializes in books about the colourful personalities of Western Canada's past. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he immigrated to Canada in 1966, and has lived in Calgary, Alberta since 1974. He spent 25 years as a staff writer with the Calgary Herald, and is an award-winning and best-selling author of a dozen critically acclaimed narrative non-fiction books, including Brief Encounters: Conversations with Celebrities (2016) and Rogues and Rebels: Unforgettable Characters from Canada’s West (2015). Brian also authored the Library’s official history, The Calgary Public Library: Inspiring Life Stories Since 1912 (2012).
2011 – Naomi K. Lewis
Naomi K. Lewis is a Canadian fiction and nonfiction writer, who has written three books and co-edited the anthology, Shy. She is the winner of the 2012 Colophon Prize for fiction and associate editor at Alberta Views magazine.
2010 – Gail Bowen
Gail Bowen, Canada’s “Queen of crime fiction” is a writer of a mystery series featuring Joanne Kilbourn, and a playwright. The first six books in the Kilbourn series – Deadly Appearances (1990); Murder at the Mendel (1991); The Wandering Soul Murders (1992); A Colder Kind of Death (1994), winner of the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award; A Killing Spring (1996) and Verdict in Blood (1998) – have appeared as made-for-television movies with world-wide distribution. Burying Ariel (2000); The Glass Coffin (2002); The Last Good Day (2004); The Endless Knot (2006); The Brutal Heart (2008) and The Nesting Dolls (2010) have met with critical and commercial success. In June 2008, Reader’s Digest named Bowen ‘Canada’s Best Mystery Novelist’.
2009 – Betty Jane Hegerat
Betty Jane Hegerat is the author of three novels, the most recent being a teen novel, Odd One Out (2016), a collection of short stories, and a book of creative non-fiction. A social worker by profession, Betty Jane now teaches creative writing for Continuing Education at the University of Calgary and workshops in other venues.
2007 – Rona Altrows
Rona Altrows was born and raised in Montreal and has lived in Calgary since 1979. Both cities inform her work. She started writing in earnest in 1994 and now authors fiction, plays, essays and songs. She has published two short story collections, a children’s picture chap book, The River Throws a Tantrum, and co-edited an anthology. She is also an editor, which she does both in-house and freelance.
2005 – Ken Rivard
Ken Rivard was born and raised in Montreal. He is the author of ten published books of poetry, fiction, and children's literature. His writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, in many regional and national publications, and on the CBC. His books have been finalists for the Writers Guild of Alberta Book Awards and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize.
2003 – Faye Reineberg Holt
In addition to authoring 13 books, Faye Reineberg Holt has published numerous short stories, poems, interviews and articles. She has provided readings and facilitated workshops from BC to Saskatchewan, and at an earlier stage in her career, she was a high school English teacher. Currently, she teaches non-credit writing workshops at Mount Royal University.
2000 – Martine Bates Leavitt
Martin Bates Leavitt writes contemporary realism and fantasy novels and short stories for young adults. Her books have been translated into German, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Japanese, and Korean. Keturah and Lord Death was a finalist for the National Book Award and Heck Superhero, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Leavitt currently teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
1998 – Shirlee Smith Matheson
Shirlee Smith Matheson’s definition of success is being “a story keeper” – writing adult nonfiction biographies as well young adult novels that add to society’s collective knowledge. Shirlee has lived on farms in Manitoba near the Riding Mountains, and in Alberta west of Sylvan Lake; and in urban areas ranging from Lacombe, Alberta; to Vernon and Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia; in Australia; and in Calgary. Shirlee has published 18 books.
1996 – George Melnyk
George Melnyk is a cultural historian, academic, and writer, and the Associate Professor of Canadian Studies and Film Studies at the University of Calgary. First Person Plural (2016) is his 26th book and it continues his essay publications that began with Radical Regionalism (1981), and then continued with Beyond Alienation (1993), New Moon at Batoche (1999) and My Mother is an Alien (2003). George is the author of the two-volume Literary History of Alberta (1998-99) and numerous books on Canadian cinema.
1994 – Darlene Barry Quaife
Darlene Barry Quaife writes novels, short stories, poetry, plays, essays and children’s literature. Her novel Bone Bird won the 1989 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Her novel Days & Nights on the Amazon was voted A Book for Everybody by the Canadian Booksellers Association. Polar Circus, an eco-thriller, was short-listed for the Georges Bugnet Novel Award. As a freelance writer, she has contributed to newspapers, magazines and journals.
1992 – Joan Crate
Joan Crate was born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and was brought up with pride in her Indigenous heritage. She taught literature and creative writing at Red Deer College, Alberta, for over 20 years. Her first book of poetry, Pale as Real Ladies: Poems for Pauline Johnson, has become a classic. Her first novel, Breathing Water, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Award (Canada) and the Books in Canada First Novel Award in 1989. She is a recipient of the Bliss Carman Award for Poetry and her last book of poetry, SubUrban Legends, was awarded Book of the Year by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. Her most recent book is a novel, Black Apple (2016). She lives with her family in Calgary.
1990 – Yvonne Trainer
Yvonne Trainer has published four books of poetry, a chapbook, and hundreds of poems in magazines and journals over the past 30 years. Her collection of poems based on the life of Tom Three Persons continues to be used in University classrooms. In the late 1980's she established a chapbook series titled Circle 5 Press. She has held an Alberta culture award, AFLA awards, and an Edmonton Trust award for writing. In the 1990's, she also received a nomination for People's Poet of Canada and gave numerous poetry readings throughout the country. She admittedly privileges oral poetry over the written. Yvonne also holds a BA, MA and PhD in English. She presently lives and writes in Lethbridge.
1989 – Cora Taylor
Cora Taylor is an award-winning author who has written over 14 books published in many languages including Japanese and Dutch. She has won numerous writing awards including Canada Council Children's Literature Prize 1985 (now Governor General’s Award), Canadian Library Association Book-of-the-Year for Children, Austrian Youth Book Prize, and Alberta Writers Guild R. Ross Annett Award for Excellence in Writing for Children, Cora has three homes and travels all over the world, but she bases herself in Edmonton, Alberta.
1988 – William Pasnak
William Pasnak is a Vancouver author who has twice won the R. Ross Annett award for children’s literature, given by the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. He is the author of seven books, including The Ginger Princess.
1987 – Fred Stenson
Fred Stenson is a novelist, non-fiction writer and film writer. He became a published author in 1974, at the age of 22, with the release of his novel Lonesome Hero. Since receiving early critical acclaim for his fiction writing, including both The Trade and Lightning winning the Grant MacEwan’s Author’s Prize, and a finalist for the prestigious Giller Prize with The Trade.. Fred’s newest novel is Who by Fire (2014). In his works, Stenson’s simultaneously mythologizes and demythologizes the West. He focuses on the lives of ordinary people, the fringe players of history, leaving the larger legends, big ranchers and political personalities to others. He currently resides with his wife and family in Cochrane, Alberta.