About Us

Winnipeg International Writers Festival

The Winnipeg International Writers Festival is a charitable non-profit organization that promotes reading and literacy in Manitoba by curating the annual THIN AIR writers festival and showcasing writers throughout the year.

At the 2003 festival, Margaret Atwood flashed one of her devilish smiles, pulled a scarf up across her face, and quoted Shakespeare’s Prospero: “These our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air.” Then she pirouetted and ducked into the maze of milling people.

That passage—and that moment—hold everything in balance: the ephemeral quality of art-making, the durability of memory, the powerful impact when an artist meets an audience. This is THIN AIR.

Who We Are

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Charlene Diehl

Charlene Diehl is a writer, editor, and performer, and since 2003 the Director of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba in 1992 and was an English professor at the University of Waterloo before returning to her beloved Canadian prairies in 2000. She has published essays, poetry, non-fiction, reviews, interviews, academic studies, and several chapbooks.

Her book Out of Grief, Singing: A Memoir of Motherhood and Loss (Signature Editions, 2010) was shortlisted for both the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Non-Fiction Award and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year. Also a lover of jazz, she was the associate editor of a dig! magazine for a dozen years, has performed original poetry with her own jazz ensemble, A Flock of Bards, and is now the producer of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances series. In 2018, she received the Making a Difference Award at the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts.

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Chelsey Young
Administrative Coordinator

Chelsey Young is a recent graduate from the University of Winnipeg with her Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric, and Communications. THIN AIR 2020 is her 3rd festival and she is thrilled to be working toward bringing lively content to the virtual edition. When she’s not ferociously tracking spreadsheets, you can find her singing pretty much everywhere she goes!

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Alina Moore
Communications Coordinator

Alina Moore is the Communications Coordinator for the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. Raised in the small lakefront town of Gimli, Manitoba, located on Treaty 1 Territory, she moved to Winnipeg to pursue a degree in Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications at the University of Winnipeg. She received her 3-year BA last year, and after a short break is back in classes to pursue a 4-year BA with Honour’s.

Alina is passionate about the importance of reading and writing and is thrilled to work with an incredible team that is dedicated to bringing phenomenal line-ups of authors and books to the community throughout the year. When she’s not drinking an iced coffee and reading a book at the lake, you can find her drinking an iced coffee and taking care of her 20+ indoor plants in her Winnipeg apartment.

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Teresa Horosko
Programming Coordinator

Our Programming Coordinator, Teresa Horosko is an emerging writer and current student in the Honours English program at The University of Winnipeg. Her work has appeared in Prairie Fire. One of her favourite things to do is to learn new vocabulary – check out our Instagram for her Word of the Week videos. When she is not writing or studying, she creates long lists of nicknames for her cat. She was advised that this isn’t the liveliest sounding hobby.

ryan steel thin air winnipeg international writers festival international ecrivains team
Ryan Steel
Tech Support

Ryan Steel is an independent filmmaker and animator from Treaty 1 Territory. After being introduced to the Winnipeg Film Group at the age of 13, he was sucked into the weirdo world of arthouse cinema.

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Brian Hydesmith
Graphic Artist & Designer

Brian Hydesmith endeavours to connect the visual world with the written word. As a photographer, reporter, and graphic designer he has worked in various capacities on newspapers, magazines, books, academic journals, and visual projects of all types on three continents. Brian enjoys working with Winnipeg’s creative community to assist in sharing all they do to make the world a better place.