Creative Writing Faculty

Elaine Ávila

MFA (California Institute of the Arts), BEd (SFU), BA (Santa Clara University)

Teaches CRWR 1102, 1202 & 2200


Creative Writing Faculty Elaine Ávila

Elaine Ávila’s plays are produced in Panamá City, Sintra, Pico, Costa Rica, Paris, London, New York, Lisbon, Australia, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria, and include Jane Austen, Action Figure (Best New Play, Festival de los Cocos); Lieutenant Nun (Best New Play, Victoria Critics Circle); Kitimat (Mellon Foundation Commission); Fado: the Saddest Music in the World (Named Top Latinx Plays in U.S, Sure Fire List in Canada, Best Musical); and Café a Brasileira (Best Play, Disquiet International, Lisbon). Her collected works are available from NoPassport Press. Her nonfiction is published by York University Press, Routledge, Theatre Communications Group, Smith and Kraus, EnRoute, Howlround, Canadian Theatre Review, American Theater, Portuguese American Review, Lusitania, Contemporary Theatre Review and Café Onda. She is the co-founder of the International Climate Change Theatre Action, involving 50 playwrights, 200 venues and 12,000 audience members worldwide. She is the Fulbright Scholar to the Azores and lives in New Westminster.

Elizabeth Bachinsky

BA, MFA (UBC) Poetry
Teaches CRWR 1101, 1103, 1202 & 2201

Creative Writing Faculty Elizabeth Bachinsky

Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of five collections of poetry, Curio (BookThug, 2005), Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood Editions, 2006), God of Missed Connections (Nightwood Editions, 2009), I Don’t Feel So Good (BookThug, 2012) and The Hottest Summer in Recorded History (Nightwood Editions, 2013). Her poetry has been nominated for awards including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Pat Lowther Award, the Kobzar Award, the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in BC Literature and has appeared in literary journals, anthologies and on film around the world. Her poem “Wolf Lake” is a favourite of Poetry in Voice, Canada’s national poetry recitation competition for youth and her collection God of Missed Connections was adapted for stage by the Electric Company. Elizabeth has taught at UBC, UBCO, The Sage Hill Writing Experience and other schools and is a past editor of EVENT magazine and PRISM international. 

Shashi Bhat

MFA (The Johns Hopkins University), BA (Cornell University)
Poetry, Fiction, Personal Narrative
Editor, EVENT magazine
Teaches CRWR 1101, 1103, 1202 & 2350


Creative Writing Faculty Shashi Bhat


Shashi Bhat is the author of the novels The Most Precious Substance on Earth (M&S, 2021; Grand Central, 2022), a finalist for the Governor General's Award for fiction, and The Family Took Shape (Cormorant, 2013), a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Her short story collection, Death by a Thousand Cuts, is forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart in 2024. Shashi's fiction won the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize and was shortlisted for a National Magazine Award and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Her stories have appeared in publications across Canada, including Best Canadian Stories 2018, 2019, and 2021 and The Journey Prize Stories 24 and 30. Shashi has taught creative writing at The Johns Hopkins University and Dalhousie University. She is the editor of EVENT magazine.



Wayde Compton


Teaches CRWR 1101, 1103, 1202, 2201, 2202, 2203 & 2350


Creative Writing Faculty Wayde Compton

Wayde Compton is the author of four books: 49th Parallel Psalm (finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize); Performance Bond; After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region (finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award); and The Outer Harbour (winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award). He has also edited two anthologies: Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature and Orature and The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award). Compton is a co-founder of the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, an organization formed to raise awareness about the history of Vancouver’s black community. He lives in Vancouver and has recently joined the faculty of Creative Writing at Ƶ in New Westminster, BC.

Amber Dawn 

Teaches CRWR 1101, 1103, 1202, 2201, 2202, 2203 & 2350


Creative Writing Faculty Amber Dawn

Amber Dawn is the author of four books and the editor of three anthologies. Her debut novel Sub Rosa (2010) won the Lambda Literary Award for Debut Lesbian Fiction and the Writers’ Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize. Her memoir How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir (2013) won the Vancouver Book Award. Her poetry collection Where the words end and my body begins (2015) was a finalist for BC Book Award’s Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Her sophomore novel Sodom Road Exit (2018) was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. 

Photo credit: Sarah Race

Rick Maddocks 

BA (Guelph), MFA (UBC)
Teaches CRWR 1103, 1202, 1234, 2202 & 2350


Creative Writing Faculty Rick Maddocks

Rick Maddocks’s collection of linked stories, Sputnik Diner, was published by Knopf/Vintage Canada. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and in such anthologies as Write Turns: New Directions in Canadian Fiction. Rick is also a singer/songwriter, releasing two albums with The Beige. His experimental opera The Meal premiered at the PuSh Festival in 2011 and was restaged in 2012 at Pacific Theatre. His interdisciplinary project, Sun Belt, launched the book/ album Cabalcor in 2015. He’s currently working on a novel and is releasing an album, Songs from the Black Sand, in late 2019. 


Mary Burns

Faculty Emerita
Sonoma State Gollege, 1970
Fiction, Playwriting, Personal Narrative

Mary Burns is the author of six books, numerous radio and stage plays, documentary film scripts, newspaper and magazine articles. 

Susan McCaslin

Faculty Emerita
BA (Washington), MA (SFU), PhD (UBC)
English Literature: Early 20th-century poetry and poetics; the British Romantics, Blake, Coleridge, Edgar Allan Poe; Thomas Merton


Susan McCaslin is an established poet with thirteen published volumes of poetry, a volume of essays, and a memoir. She taught poetry workshops in the Creative Writing Department at Ƶ for ten years. She now gives poetry readings and offers occasional creative writing workshops.

Calvin Wharton

Dip Creative Writing (David Thompson), MFA (British Columbia) 
Fiction, Poetry, Personal Narrative


Creative Writing Faculty Calvin Wharton

Calvin Wharton is the Chair of the Creative Writing department. His work has been published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies, and broadcast on CBC radio. He has published a book of poetry, Visualized Chemistry (Tsunami Editions), and co-edited the poetry anthology East of Main (Arsenal Pulp) with Tom Wayman. He also wrote the non-fiction Rowing (Stoddart) with Silken Laumann, and a collection of short fiction, Three Songs by Hank Williams (Turnstone). He was editor of EVENT magazine from 1996 to 2001. His collection of poetry, The Song Collides (Anvil Press) was published in 2011, and a chapbook, The Invention of Birds, appeared as part of the Alfred Gustav press series in May 2014