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A. S. (Anthea) Penne - Author

The Official Bio

A. S. (Anthea) Penne is the author of two books, numerous fiction and nonfiction pieces published in literary journals, periodicals and anthologies, and she can now add 'playwright' to the list of accomplishments on her CV. Her first book, Old Stones, published by Touchwood Editions in 2002, is a creative nonfiction work chronicling the lives of three generations with roots in World War II England. An excerpt from Old Stones won the 1999 Prairie Fire Creative Nonfiction Competition. Reckoning, a first collection of short fiction, was released by Turnstone Press (Winnipeg) in September 2008.

Penne's work has won awards on both sides of the Atlantic, notably the acclaimed Ian St James Award (UK, 1996 and 1994) and the Writers' Digest award (USA, 1994). In Canada her work has been a finalist in the prestigious Western Magazine Awards (2000) as well as being awarded an Honourable Mention in the Norma Epstein Creative Writing Competition (1993). Though she has lived variously in eastern Canada, France, England and Scotland, Penne considers Canada's west coast to be her true home and, using the geography of her native province, sets her fiction in BC.

Penne has been a participant at both the Iowa Writers Workshop (2002) as well as the Banff Writing Studio (2004). She is currently working on a first novel and doing research for a second creative nonfiction book. As well as working on her own projects, Penne facilitates regular workshops for new writers. She also offers a private retreat at her home in Sechelt for writers needing time and space to concentrate on their own work.

What I'd like you to know about me

I first began to teach writing in 1982 while substitute teaching in the Vancouver public school system. To supplement that sporadic income, I began to tutor privately. So many high school students came to me not knowing how to write an essay that I began to 'specialize' in the art of the essay. At the time I was also working on my Master's degree at UBC's Department of Creative Writing so the two parts of my life meshed well.

My reputation as an English tutor evolved until I began to hold long distance telephone sessions with university students, doing line-by-line edits on the papers they'd written for final grades. Later I began to work with graduate students on honing their theses.

This background developed into the creation of weekly writing workshops. Since 2000 I have worked with both secondary students wanting to explore the craft of creative writing and with adults wanting to create a work of some length. It's an honour to be able to work with so many new writers and I am grateful for the opportunities the experience has afforded me. It's always a thrill to witness the birth of some raw talent and I regularly tell all my workshop participants that we learn as much from listening to others as we do from our own experiments in writing.

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