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


Eden Robinson Receives an Honorary Degree

We’re delighted that our MFA Alumna Eden Robinson, the internationally acclaimed Haisla and Heiltsuk novelist and short story writer, will be receiving an honorary doctoral degree today from UBC to recognize her substantial literary contributions.

Our colleagues at the Faculty of Arts interviewed her recently about her literary accomplishments.

An Interview with MFA Alumnus Ellen Keith

UBC Creative Writing graduate Ellen Keith (MFA ’16) recently published her debut novel The Dutch Wife – a historical fiction work that she completed during the MFA Optional Residency program. The book, which won the HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, reached #1 on the Globe & Mail Canadian Fiction Bestseller List.

Ellen talks with UBC Arts about her studies at UBC and her writing.

Alumni Spring Books

Every year, our fantastic BFA and MFA alumni continue to publish wonderful books, and Spring 2018 is no exception. The list of titles recently published or forthcoming includes thrillers, poetry collections, the satirical and the elegiac. Read them all and find out what our graduates are producing.




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Writing the Future: Gallery

We’re delighted to showcase some moments from our Indigenous Alumni Reading, “Writing the Future”, held at UBC on March 19th, 2018. All photos courtesy of Edward Chang of V. Saran Photo.

Congratulations to our MFA and alumni nominated for the BC Book Prizes!

Congratulations to our students and alumni! The West Coast Book Prize Society announced the finalists for the 2018 BC Book Prizes. The BC Book Prizes, established in 1985, celebrate the achievements of British Columbia writers and publishers.

The seven Prizes are presented annually at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala in the spring, as well as a presentation to the winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.

The Prizes are administered and awarded by members of a non-profit society  who represent all facets of the publishing and writing community.

Winners will be announced on Friday, May 4, 2018



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Alumna focus: Francine Cunningham: ‘I walk around all day observing things and thinking about what ifs.’

Francine Cunningham is a Canadian Indigenous writer, artist and educator. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in The Malahat Review, the anthology Boobs: women explore what it means to have breasts (Caitlin Press), The Best Canadian Essays 2017 (TightRope Books), and more. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in The Puritan, Joyland Magazine, Echolocation Magazine, The Maynard and more. She is a graduate of the UBC Creative Writing MFA Program, a recent winner of The Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award, and recipient of the 2017 Telus StoryHive webseries grant. You can find more info about her here. We spoke to Francine about what she has been up to since she graduated.

Continue reading “Alumna focus: Francine Cunningham: ‘I walk around all day observing things and thinking about what ifs.’”

MFA Alessandra Naccarato wins CBC Poetry Prize

Congratulations to our MFA Alessandra Naccarato who has won the CBC Poetry Prize for Postcards for my Sister. The CBC Literary Prizes have been recognizing Canadian writers since 1979. Allessandra’s poem was selected from more than 2,400 English-language submissions this year. She wins $6000 as well as a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

MFA Alumna Eden Robinson Wins $50,000 Writer’s Trust Fellowship

 MFA alumna Eden Robinson has won the third Writer’s Trust Fellowship, intended to free writers substantially from financial concerns and provide a window in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible. The Writers’ Trust Fellowship comes with an award of $50,000.

The unrestricted Fellowship is awarded to a writer who has demonstrated exceptional creative ability and outstanding promise in their publications to date. You can read about the details here.

Alumni Nominations for the International Dublin Literary Award Longlist

MFA alumni Anosh Irani and Katherena Vermette  as well as BFA alumna Jen Sookfong Lee have been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award 2018. Anosh has been nominated for her book The ParcelKatherena for The Break and Jen for The ConjoinedAll books were previously nominated for other awards.

The International Dublin Literary award is the world’s most valuable annual literary prize. Writers are nominated by libraries in 37 countries. The winner of the Award will receive €100,000. Our alumni are 3 of the 14 Canadian writers who made the longlist this year.

The shortlist will be announced in April 2018. The prize will will be announced by the Lord Mayor on the 13th of June 2018.

Marcus Youssef wins Siminovitch Prize

Congratulations to Marcus Youssef, MFA alumnus, who is the winner of the 2017 $100,000 Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s richest and most prestigious theatre award. The award includes a protégé element: each year’s winner chooses another artist to receive $25,000 of the total prize. Marcus selected theatre artist Christine Quintana (UBC Theatre BFA alumna) to share in his award.

Youssef is best known for writing and cowriting Winners and Losers (one of Neworld’s longest-running and most successful pieces), King Arthur’s Night, Leftovers, How Has My Love Affected You?, Ali & Ali, Chloe’s Choice, Everyone, Adrift, Peter Panties, Jabber, and A Line in the Sand.

Marcus recently taught for UBC Creative Writing in the Summer of 2017 and we interviewed him for the CRWR website when he was nominated for the award.