Our Contributors

Alison Lock

Alison Lock is a poet and author from Holmfirth (UK). She finds inspiration in the moorlands and the natural environment of the South Pennines, which is often reflected in her writing. She is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Creative Writing. She believes that Transfor-mative Life WritingTM is a unique and powerful tool that can transform our personal journalling, giving us new insights, and encouraging the development of our writing journeys. Visit her at her website here.

Anna Levin

Anna Levin is a writer living in Central Scotland. She trained with Joanne Klassen and received facilitator certification in Life Writing for TransformationTM, through Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. She specializes in natural history journalism, combining her love of words and the wild world. Anna has a special interest in people’s connections to the rest of the natural world and loves working where words and pictures meet.

Anne Harding

Anne was a Primary teacher and worked with pupils with English as an Additional Language. Since retirement she has joined a Poetry Society and short story writing group. After attending a Transformative WritingTM course at Woodbrooke in 2009 she has returned for the Alumni Retreats every year since. The Tools of Transformation support her writing development. Anne is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and attends meetings in Telford.

Astrid Schuhmann

Astrid’s adventuresome spirit led her from her native Germany to Winnipeg, where she has applied her passion for organizational systems in several settings. After completing a Transformative WritingTM program, she was trained as a facilitator and has led groups for seniors. Astrid has coordinated two training manuals and three books, including this one. Her passion for language led her to transcribe her father-in-law’s journals and translate them from their original German into English.

Bertha Fontaine

Bertha Fontaine is currently a manager and counsellor at an addiction treatment centre in Winnipeg, Canada. She attended a Transformative WritingTM program at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and other writing classes led by Joanne Klassen. This helped Bertha realize the healing power of writing. Bertha loves being with family, especially her two sons, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. She believes and practices the Ojibway and Cree traditional ways of her ancestors.

Beverley Johnston

Beverley Johnston taught school in four provinces and has travelled extensively in Canada and abroad. Her most prized accomplishments involve her family, having been honoured as Unicef Canada’s Volunteer of the Year (1999) in Toronto, being awarded first prize in the Writers’ Collective of Manitoba/Free Press contest (2009) at Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, and first prize for a children’s story in Helen Isobel Sissons/P.A.C.E. Award in Toronto (2013). She writes to feed her soul.

Brian Hay

Brian Hay is a retired lawyer and a writer. He completed Transformative WritingTM studies at Canadian Mennonite University and received facilitator certification at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center, European Centre for Life Writing for TransformationTM, in Birmingham, England. Brian took motorcycle lessons after he turned 60, consistent with Michelangelo’s motto: “I’m always learn-ing …” He loves reading books about writing and daily personal/spiritual reflection. Since 2012, he has envisioned and helped guide this book to completion.

Cynthia Booden Firth

Cynthia Booden Firth’s dynamic and creative approach to life is reflected in her passion for the visual arts and written word. Well-travelled, well-read and well-versed in matters of the mind, heart, and spirit, she embraces life with both reverence and gusto. As a Public Affairs professional and an avid photographer, she endeavours to practice in her passions daily. Her motto is: Live, Love, Laugh.

Denise Ede

Denise Ede hails from a former mill town in the north-west of England. She was fortunate enough to attend the local grammar school where she gained an enthusiasm for many subjects, including literature and writing. At Sunday School she was introduced to the song “Dare to be a Daniel.” Denise is currently enjoying retirement in the beautiful Vale of Clwyd in the Welsh border country. Her favourite author, at present, is Fernando Pessoa.

Eleanor Chornoboy

Author of Faspa and Faspa with Jast, Eleanor writes to capture moments in history. Through co-facilitating Life Writing for TransformationTM classes, she has had the joy of joining writers on their journey as they put their stories on the page. To delight the child in her, she has authored Snow Angels and Pajama Tears. Eleanor and her husband Larry live in Winnipeg, Canada.

Erin Taves

Erin Taves plays the role of wife, mother, friend, employee, and spiritual enthusiast. She attended a Transformative WritingTM program in 2004 and continues to enjoy gatherings with “Prism”; an eclectic group of women who provide her with inspiration and wisdom. Erin’s writing is self-reflective, based on her observations of the world and how it imitates her inner psyche. She reads books that promise to reveal some secret that has yet to be revealed.

Farrukh Akhtar

Farrukh, a senior lecturer at a London university, has been involved in the helping profession for over 25 years. As a Transformative Life WritingTM (TLW) facilitator, she runs workshops at the university and in the community. She is the TLW Facilitators’ Co-ordinator for Europe and edited their training manual. Farrukh is founder of an incognito but internationally acclaimed book club. She loves writing, the theatre, communing with vegetables on her allotment, and having friends over for dinner.

Fitsum Getahun

Fitsum Getahun immigrated to Canada from her country, Ethiopia, in 2009. Fitsum’s passion for reading and journalling began at a young age, when she was in elementary school. As someone who has studied language, she believes in the enormous power of words and thinks that she best expresses her life experiences in writing. As a mother of two young children and a recent immigrant to Canada, Fitsum’s journals are the closest friends she confides with.

Irma Nadeau

Writing is one of the ways in which Irma explores her life experiences. As she writes her stories, she is sometimes surprised in the new awareness and meaning she gains through the writing process. She finds joy in creating meaningful moments and memories with family and friends, especially her grandchildren, and sharing those with her writing group.

Jayelle Bond

Jayelle Bond is walking into her prime. She stretched herself by taking the Life Writing for TransformationTM course at Canadian Mennonite University. Poetry is her usual writing; her poems have been published in journals and magazines. A prairie woman who delights in wind-rippled wheat fields and the starry vault of sky, Jayelle engages in watercolour painting, reading, and travelling.

Jeremy Schick

Jeremy is a full time student trying to finish his last year of high school. He loves music, art, politics, and exercise. He has lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada his whole life and thinks it’s an amazing place to live. Jeremy is a drummer who likes to play mostly metal because it challenges him. Jeremy is going to become a father for the first time on April 17, 2016. He is very excited to start this new chapter of his life.

Joanne Klassen

Author and Heartspace founder, Joanne began facilitating personal development programs in 1975. Her career and life changed in 1998 when she received a vision for Transformative Life WritingTM which is now offered to teens, adults and seniors around the world. Joanne’s ideal day includes writing, singing to a baby, visiting thrift shops and walking along the river with her husband Ted in Winnipeg, Canada.

Leah Bueckert

Leah Bueckert works in Spiritual Health Services at a long-term care facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She took Life Writing for TransformationTM in 2011 and values its influence in her life and writing of spiritual reflections. Leah has recently started guitar lessons and she is grateful for the ways that music brings her to her heart.

Lori Gagnon

Lori Gagnon is a mother, daughter, sister, wife, and grandmother. She has a passion for reading, writing and art. Lori became an avid journal writer and explored writing poetry during the 26 years she lived in Churchill, Manitoba. Lori took a Transformative WritingTM course at CMU and continues to write, journal, make art and explore any creative venture that piques her interest. Her dreams include publishing her own book about growing up in Silver Heights, Manitoba.

Margaret Harms

Margaret Harms is a retired teacher. After retirement she has travelled to Burkina Faso, Africa, completed a Life Writing course at CMU, and has taken up painting. Margaret writes poetry, memories of her childhood, and stories of her family and her teaching experiences. Her passion is reading. Margaret and her husband live on a small acreage near Lowe Farm, Manitoba, Canada, where they enjoy gardening in summer. She lovingly tends her roses.

Moira Fitt

Moira is a Quaker and feels that her Life Writing for TransformationTM skills, poetry and healing are all inspired by the inner creative spirit to help her and others to discover their potential. In 1986, she began designing and facilitating personal development courses for “women returners”, alongside her education guidance role in Cornwall. She retired to enjoy her grandchildren, swimming, and relaxing in the New Zealand sunshine.

Pat Cloutier

Pat is a retired teacher who loves to explore her creativity through a variety of artistic mediums, including writing. She delights in extracting an unusual viewpoint from any ordinary object or situation and fashioning it into an exciting and meaningful interpretation. Her passion is whittling the peel of a plump orange into a variety of intricate designs after savouring its delicious fruit. So far, she has met only one person who shares her fancy.

Ray Ede

Encouragement from a supportive English teacher was Ray’s original impetus to write. He discovered Trans-formative Life WritingTM on a course at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham, UK. Joanne Klassen and Eleanor Chornoboy later trained him as a facilitator. Ray’s eclectic interests include Jungian Psychology, horticulture, detective novels, and the links between creativity and spirituality. He is married to Denise and is savouring their retirement together in North Wales.

Rebecca Hubbard

The Garden of Shadow and Delight is Rebecca Hubbard’s collection of prose poems on gardens (Cinnamon Press 2014). She lives in a small Hertfordshire village but her family roots are both Welsh and English. She combines gardening at a Camphill Community with teaching writing. Rebecca has degrees in art history and creative writing, and she offers workshops using images, myths, gardens, and landscapes. She practices a silent meditation of the heart and sits with the Quakers.

Sallie Cooper

At 61, Sallie is a proud mother and grandmother and firm believer in lifelong learning. A keen writer and reader, she is also a cellist and trained facilitator of Life Writing for TransformationTM which occupies regular slots of time in the area around her home in North Yorkshire, UK. A lot of Sallie’s work is done in the field of Mental Health, an area which she is passionate about and experienced in.

Ted Klassen

Ted began his career in a one-room rural Manitoba school. He then worked as a consultant, human resource manager and general manager. He is an advocate of life-long learning and transformation. Ted logged many miles on his motorcycle trips with his sons across North America and with his friend to Alaska and the Yukon. He is passionate about Joanne, his wife, five children, extended family, Plautdietsch (Low German), golf and the Cindy Klassen Recreation Centre.

Tiffany Berman

Tiffany is an energy/environmental regulatory specialist who recently transitioned away from a busy career in Washington, D.C. to enjoy a different set of pursuits. She and her husband, both now retired, live in Maryland where they enjoy creative projects, spending time with their two children and travelling. Tiffany loves reading non-fiction, watching movies, taking long walks, and exploring new places. She’s been an avid fan of Transformative Life WritingTM since its inception, a strong supporter of paths that reconnect us with our authentic selves.

Tracey Craigon

Tracey has had a knack for writing since childhood. Her love of the craft has led to explorations in poetry, journalling, song writing, blogging, calligraphy, and fiction. She is considering writing a book about some of her faith experiences. Presently, Tracey lives in Winnipeg and teaches ESL. She recently certified as a Personal Trainer and helps others enjoy the benefits of fitness. Tracey’s other interests include prayer, language, singing, cooking, HIIT workouts, and dance.

Valerie Henderson

Valerie works at Rossbrook House, an inner city drop-in centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She basks in family smiles, laughter and togetherness with her husband Terry, their son Brian, his wife Maria, and their six children. Competition puts pep in her step. Val’s family are gifted pool players who have collected many trophies and awards. Late at night Valerie can be found reading, writing, or working on a degree in Criminal Justice.

Wilma Walker

Following retirement from the Careers Service Wilma completed a “Mencap” challenge to Peru, establishing a school for disabled children, then walked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. In 2005 she was part of a Quaker study tour to Cuba. Joys, woes, and decisions are worked out through writing. Her sons, their families, Life Writing for TransformationTM workshops, reading group, yoga, walk-ing her dogs and caring for her disabled husband fully occupy her.