About Me

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Janet Calcaterra Writer, Editor, Educator

I am a writer, an editor, and an educator who has hosted or attended a monthly performance series of the written and spoken word, The Conspiracy of Three, for over thirty years. My publications include short stories and non-fiction articles. These include garden and travel pieces with photos, book and art exhibition reviews, personal essays and magazine and newspaper articles. I have taught from junior-kindergarten to university, most recently creative writing for Canadore College and Nipissing University, and now give workshops on such  topics as "Short Story Writing" and "First Draft: Novel."

    I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a few years after WWII ended. My father, a surgeon during the war, suffered PTSD, which caused me to write about war and its effects on ordinary people.

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    As a child I loved books. My favourite, "The Boxcar Children," by Gertrude Chandler Warner, was read to my grade two class every day after lunch. The story so engrossed me I decided to become  a writer.   

   My introduction to gardening came one Toronto summer when, to avoid the heat, I escaped to my mother's garden. She had me deadhead her flowers. By the following spring, I was planting annuals. Since then, gardening has become one of my favourite pastimes.             

   When my birth date and a school acceleration made me two-years younger than my classmates, I escaped by reading rather than joining their often age-inappropriate activities. This reading lead me to study English at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and to Toronto Teachers' College. During my undergraduate years, I became involved in the peace movement in response to the War in Viet Nam.

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In the spirit of the peace and back-to-the-land movements, I moved to 160 acres of land in northern Ontario, built a house, grew and preserved vegetables, and planted perennial flowers. I had turned to what I thought was life, Walden-style. There my desire to write and publish became real.

    After  ten years of living in the bush, during which time I had two daughters, I wanted my children to experience a more urban lifestyle, so I settled in North Bay, Ontario.  Since then, I have attended  writing  workshops  with  Leon Rooke,  Richard Ford, and Marina Endicott  as well as David Helwig, Bonnie Burnard, Bronwyn Wallace, Timothy Findley, and Carol Shields before their deaths. I then took an MFA Creative Writing: Fiction from Fairleigh  Dickinson University, Madison, N.J. 

    I am seeking a publisher for my novel manuscript, "Written in the Stars", and nearing completion of a collection of short stories with the working title, "Blue Willow Stories," some of which have been published.  My next project is a young adult novel set in northern Ontario, with the working title "Big Shore."