Hi. I’m Heather. I’m a fiction writer and Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University who loves collaborations, hybrid forms and genres, interdisciplinary projects, and teaching. I am grateful for the chance to write and teach in K’jipuktuk on Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. I am grateful for the Black history and Black present in this place. I acknowledge that Indigenous and Black culture, intelligence, creativity, and resistance shape this beautiful city of Halifax where I live, and that I benefit inordinately from this work. As a scholar and writer, I commit myself to learning and working against my complicity in the continued project of colonization.
I have previously taught smart and stylish students about stories and the small miracles that are commonly known as words at Langara College in Vancouver, located on the territories of the Musqueam, who have given the College the name snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓, House of Teachings. I have taught Critical Theory and Art History at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Literature at Saint Mary’s University, English Composition at Concordia University, and workshops on Fiction, Poetry, Character, Creativity, Art and Activism, and Pilgrimage for the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, the B.C. Writers Federation, Writers In the Schools, Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centre, and at Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island.
I believe that when we take and teach Creative Writing and Literature classes, we engage in radical acts of empathy and imagination that are needed now more than ever in service to our world. We give ourselves routines, rhythms, and community so that we are more bravely equipped to encounter discomfort, strangeness, and otherness-than-ourselves with grace and intelligence. We use improbably focused acts of attention to understand the galactic structures of a novel’s constellations, or the small gentle sway of steam rising from a character’s cup of tea – and this attention is at the root of empathy. When we take and teach Creative Writing and Literature we learn to still ourselves. We learn bravery, resilience, patience, and practice. We learn how to ask open and beautiful questions, and how to trust in our community and in the value of diverse experiences and voices.
These themes of stories and truth, trust and community, attention and diversity, and how words shape societies and self-understanding is also what I am most curious about in my own creative and academic work.