Is there any topic or perspective that is “off-limits” for one person to write about, but not another? Inspired by Freedom to Read week, this panel of writers for different platforms will discuss their thoughts, approaches, and questions about navigating imagination and appropriation when writing pieces with diverse characters. How do we navigate writing from the perspective of an identity drastically different than our own? How can writers ensure their work includes diverse perspectives while ensuring they are not appropriating the experiences of those who live those perspectives? How can we balance self-censorship with respect for the lived experiences of others?
Mieko Ouchi (she/her)
Mieko works as a freelance actor, writer, director, filmmaker and dramaturg and is the Associate Artistic Director at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. She is also a co-founder and an Artistic Associate at Concrete Theatre, where she held artistic leadership roles for 31years. Recently completed projects include directing Pride and Prejudice at the Citadel, Alberta Kitchen Party for ATP, She Kills Monsters for the U of A Studio Theatre and Parts & Labour for Field Work. Next month Mieko directs her own play Burning Mom at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, and then flies to the U.K. for a reading of Burning Mom at the Arcola Theatre in London.
Katherine Abbass (she/her)
Katherine Abbass (she/her) is a multi-genre author and educator of Lebanese descent. Born in Montréal and raised in Beaumont, Alberta, she has been writing and teaching in various capacities for nearly a decade. As a high school educator, Katherine worked for a handful of school boards across the province before moving back to Montréal to pursue her MA in English Literature and Creative Writing at Concordia University. Now, she works as a full-time writer for Reimagine AI, a Montréal-based creative studio. Katherine’s fiction has been nominated for both an Alberta Literary Award (2022) and an Alberta Magazine Award (2016). In 2021, she won Riddle Fence magazine’s Fiction Contest, and she was shortlisted for Room magazine’s Creative Nonfiction Contest in 2020. Her writing has also appeared in literary magazines such as Funicular, yolk, The Antigonish Review, and The Malahat Review, among others.
Sue Farrell Holler
A journalist by profession, Sue Farrell Holler is an award-winning children’s and young adult author who writes about our intrinsic need for human connection. Her young adult novel Cold White Sun was a 2019 finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text, won the Alberta Literary Awards' R. Ross Annett Award and the U.S.-based High Plains Book Award. Following in the footsteps of her popular picture book Raven, Rabbit Deer and also published by Pajama Press, her newest release is Finding Moose, her sixth book for children. In addition to two other picture books and a middle-grade novel, she is a former feature writer and parenting/ humour columnist for Sun Media newspapers. A writer of both fiction and non-fiction, Sue’s work is included in anthologies, local, regional and national publications as well as being included in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie.
Sue Farrell Holler lives in Grande Prairie.
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