Sheryda Warrener, Head Coach, aka "The Heart"
Sheryda is the author of the poetry collections Floating is Everything and Hard Feelings, and she has taught creative writing to kids in Japan, Sweden and here in Vancouver. She encourages writers of any age to explore their environment and express this experience through play, poetry, story-telling, collage and visual arts. As a preschool teacher in Stockholm, Sheryda led excursions to over twenty museums and galleries, including Pippi Longstocking’s House, The Museum of Transportation, The Museum of Water, and The Toy Museum. Each field trip inspired a different creative project: poems for Pippi’s monkey, postcard fiction, and dream house stories with accompanying drawings. In her life as a writer she makes poems about art, the planet Pluto, the tallest building in the world, the cosmonaut who holds the world record for living in space the longest (438 days!) and her son, Clyde. She is always at play with the shape her poems take. Her work has been shortlisted for some great prizes. She lives in Vancouver, where she teaches poetry at the University of British Columbia.
Ben Stephenson, Assistant Coach, aka "The Genius"
Ben is the author of the novel A Matter of Life and Death Or Something, about a ten-year-old boy named Arthur. The book was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and CBC Books named him one of “10 Canadian Writers to Watch.” His work has appeared in EVENT, The Puritan, Joyland, The Coast, King Skateboard Magazine, and Best Canadian Stories 2016. He has mentored kids in both art and writing, first through schoolARTS in Halifax, and then Story Planet, Toronto’s answer to 826 Valencia. He’s now an MFA candidate at UBC in Vancouver, where he’s wrestling daily with a new book.
Emily Pate, Assistant Coach, aka "Keeper of Dreams"
Emily Pate is a writer, poet, obscure fact collector, and word enthusiast going into her second year of UBC’s Creative Writing MFA. She likes stories with hopeful endings and most of her fiction is speculative. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have been published in Blending Magazine and The Northwest Passage. She’s also the author of A.K.A., an ongoing young adult webcomic that celebrates girl superheroes and is meant to be the kind of superhero story she wanted growing up. Originally from California, she’s currently happily living in Vancouver and writing her first novel.
Kailash Srinivasan, Assistant Coach, aka "Connectivity Sorceror"
Kailash is from India and is almost famous. His short story collection published by Cedar books few years ago was almost shortlisted for an award. He almost got selected for the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, and he almost became a cricketer. He loves to read and write fiction and is a vocalist by training. He finished his first novel and realised it wasn’t all that good. You can still find the manuscript in his drawer. His work has appeared in several journals, including Going Down Swinging, Oxmag, Regime, Tincture, Santa Ana River Review and others. He is currently writing his almost first novel. And oh, he did win the Golden Ox award for prose in 2015 (Oxford Magazine, Miami University, Ohio).
Meagan Black, Assistant Coach, aka "Chief Gator Wrangler"
Meagan Black is the youngest of six children and an only child—depending on who you ask. She started her MFA at UBC this fall and is still freaking out. Outside of school, her interests include used book sales, working for Arc Poetry Magazine and never finishing the edits on her first Young Adult novel.
David Geary, Assistant Coach, aka "Unique Experience Overlord"
David writes plays, films, TV, graphic stories, fiction, and haiku on Twitter @gearsgeary. He's a sports nut who believes storytelling is a muscle to be stretched and trained by Writing Exercises for best results. David teaches screenwriting at Capilano University and playwriting at the Playwrights Theatre Centre. David is originally from New Zealand. His fave film of 2016 was _Moana_, as it showed what great navigators, and storytellers, Polynesians are. David has two young sons. They make up "Imagination Stories" each night before bed. This is where David gets all his best ideas.
Curtis Leblanc, Assistant Coach, aka "The Voice"
Curtis is the author of Good for Nothing (Anstruther Press, 2017) and Little Wild (Nightwood Editions, forthcoming 2018). His poetry has won the Readers' Choice Award in Arc's Poem of the Year competition and been shortlisted for The Walrus Poetry Prize and CV2's Young Buck Poetry Prize. When he isn't writing, you can find him singing songs or watching hockey.