Alumni Spotlight

We’d love to hear from you! If you are an Alumni or current student of the UBC Creative Writing program with something to share, we invite you to contact us with your news and successes. Send information to Andrew Gray


Congratulations to Andrew Gray and J.S. Herbison

Congratulations to Creative Writing staff member (and MFA alumnus) Andrew Neil Gray and MFA alumna J.S. Herbison on the publication of their first novella, The Ghost Line, out this week from Parters in life as well as writing, Gray and Herbison first met while completing their MFAs at UBC.

The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga’s mother’s life. But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel…

Find out more at Andrew’s website.

Jordan Abel wins Griffin Prize for Poetry

Congratulations to Creative Writing MFA alumnus Jordan Abel, the winner of the 2017 Griffin Prize for Poetry. This $65,000 award is the world’s largest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in English. Jordan was awarded the prize for his collection, Injun, a work that probes issues of race and colonialism through the use of text taken from 91 public domain pulp Western novels.

Katherena Vermette wins $40,000 First Novel Award

Congratulations to Creative Writing MFA alumna Katherena Vermette, whose book The Break is the winner of this year’s First Novel Award. This $40,000 annual prize celebrates debut Canadian novels. The Break tells the story of a Winnipeg neighbourhood in shock after a young Indigenous girl is sexually assaulted. The Break was featured in CBC’s Canada Reads earlier this year and was also shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction.

In Conversation with Alumnus Michael Harris

In his new book of non-fiction, Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World, Governor General’s Award-winner, Michael Harris, MFA, explores the profound emotional and intellectual benefits of being alone. He examines why our experience of solitude has become so impoverished and guides readers away from a life of ceaseless pings toward a balanced media diet. Please join Harris and Creative Writing instructor, Maureen Medved, for a brief reading, conversation, Q&A, and reception.

Thursday, May 11, 2017
6:30-9:00 pm
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, UBC
$10 admission with the exception of Class of 2016

More details at the Alumni Website.


BC Book Prize Finalists

Congratulations to our faculty, alumni and students on the finalists list for the 2017 BC Book Prizes. We’re delighted to see so many of you being recognized for your amazing work.

Congratulations and best of luck to the finalists:

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Jen Sookfong Lee for The Conjoined
Anosh Irani for The Parcel

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
Deborah Campbell for A Disappearance in Damascus
Mark Leiren-Young for The Killer Whale Who Changed the World
Carol Shaben (with Mohamed Fahmy) for The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairo’s Scorpion Prison to Freedom

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
Juliane Okot Bitek for 100 Days
Rob Taylor for The News
Anne Fleming for poemw

Winners will be announced on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

Mary Kills People

Congratulations to UBC Creative Writing BFA Alumnus Tara Armstrong. Her show, Mary Kills People premieres on Global TV tonight.

Mary Kills People, a character-driven, six-part television event follows Dr. Mary Harris – An overworked single mother and ER doctor who also moonlights as an underground angel of death – working outside the law assisting patients who want to die on their own terms. So far Mary has managed to stay under the radar but business is booming, and her double life is getting complicated.

The show is already gathering glowing reviews, such as this on in the Globe & Mail.


Congratulations to MFA Alumna Jennica Harper, who’s writing for Cardinal, the dramatic thriller which premieres on CTV tonight. Jennica previously wrote for and was Co-Executive Producer on the second season of YTV’s teen comedy Some Assembly Required. Before that, she spent three seasons writing and producing the YTV/Disney XD hit Mr. Young, and was a writer on Global’s crime drama Shattered. She is also an award-winning poet. She has had three books published, the most recent being Wood (Anvil Press, 2013).

Agents Tips, Tricks and Know-How: Professional Development Day!

The Creative Writing Alumni Association (CRWRAA) is pleased to present their first Professional Development Webinar. This inexpensive online event is open to alumni, students and writers from anywhere who are interested in hearing from industry professionals discuss whether:

To find an agent or to go the independent route…
To shop your book direct to the publisher or to source the perfect agent…
To self-publish or shred?

Don’t miss the Webinar on December 7, 2016 at 12 Noon Pacific Time! 

Eden Robinson and PRISM win Writers’ Trust Awards

Congratulations to alumna Eden Robinson, who was honoured for her contributions to Canadian literature with the $25,000 Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award. Robinson is the author of two novels, including the iconic book Monkey Beach and a short story collection. She will release a new novel, Son of a Trickster, in 2017.

Congratulations to our literary magazine, PRISM international. Colette Langlois’ literary fiction debut “The Emigrants”, first published in PRISM, was awarded the $10,000 Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.

Faculty & Alumni at the Vancouver Writers Festival

Welcome to our faculty and alumni joining the Vancouver Writers Festival this week:  Deborah Campbell, Kevin Chong, Anne Fleming, Chris Humphreys, Anosh Irani, Amy Jones, Owen Laukkanen, Ashley Little, Kevin Patterson, Ellen Schwartz, Amy Stuart, Katherena Vermette, Fred Wah, Andrew Westoll, and Clea Young.

We’re especially proud to celebrate the New Shoots program with an event on Sunday, October 23, at 10:30 am, tickets $10.  Featured writers include New Shoots students, plus Evelyn Lau and Kevin Chong.