Highly regarded Canadian author Leesa Dean is returning to the Kootenays to write and teach in Selkirk College’s School of University Arts and Sciences.
Originally from Cranbrook, Dean is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA program and has been working as an English professor at Humber College in Toronto. Her fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and interviews have been published in The New Quarterly, Matrix, Lemon Hound, The Headlight Anthology, among others. She’s been a finalist for literary awards such as the Irving Layton Award, Matrix Magazine's Litpop Award, and the Quebec Writing Competition. She is a regular contributor to The New Quarterly and is the Interviews Editor for The Humber Literary Review.
Canadian author Leesa Dean will be returning to her roots in the Kootenays and become part of the Selkirk College Creative Writing Department for the Fall Semester where she will be teaching classes at both the Nelson and Castlegar campuses. (Ayelet Tsabari photo)
“I worked with Leesa at the Sage Hill Writing Experience at the Saskatchewan Writers Guild several years ago and have never forgotten her prose and her poise,” says Selkirk College Creative Writing Instructor Almeda Glenn Miller, author of the novel Tiger Dreams and poetry collection Begin with the Corners. “Leesa is dedicated to story and offers a sassy new voice to the Canadian writing scene. She knows how to offer a safe and creative atmosphere for people to explore their own writing abilities. We are very fortunate that she has cast her eye towards us.”
Dean’s new collection of short stories—Waiting for the Cyclone—will be released in Fall 2016 by Brindle & Glass. She is currently working on a novel that takes place both in Dawson City and Tianducheng, a Chinese ghost city modelled after Paris, complete with its own Eiffel Tower.
“I’m excited to work with writers in the Kootenays, my home region, and to become part of an already vibrant scene,” says Dean.
Great Addition to Selkirk's Creative Writing Department
Dean’s first assignment will be to teach first-year Creative Writing courses at the Nelson and Castlegar campuses. Selkirk College is excited to be collaborating with the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) faculty with a first-year course to complement their locally-based third-year offering.
“Selkirk College has offered Creative Writing classes in Nelson before with great success,” says Miller.
Miller has been teaching Creative Writing in Nelson, Trail and Castlegar since 1998, first with Kootenay School of the Arts Writing Studio and now with Selkirk College. In 2011-2012, Miller taught a first-year Selkirk College Creative Writing course in Nelson that was filled to capacity.
“A healthy cohort of writers came out of that pilot project,” says Miller. “Nelson deserves to have a strong writing community and we believe that Leesa’s community-building spirit and enthusiasm will continue to build on what Selkirk College offers in the Nelson area.”
Over the years, Selkirk College creative writing students have gone on to further their studies at UBCO, Thompson Rivers University, the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia’s renowned program in Vancouver. With Dean’s arrival, Selkirk College is able to further build foundations in the first- and second-year Creative Writing classes that will enable students to carry on their educational pathways into third-year programs across the country.