Betsy Warland, Founding Director and Mentor Emerita
When I offered Vancouver Manuscript for the first time in 2007, I had two motivations. I loved mentoring writers working on their manuscripts and I wanted to do more of this work. Secondly, writers working on manuscripts had few options for manuscript guidance and support and I wanted to respond to their need. As the program grew, I steadily invited more author/mentors to join me. The VMI Mentors have been a pleasure to work with as well as an inspiration to the writers with whom they have worked. In 2021, as VMI enters its fifteenth year, two of these mentors—Elee Kraljii Gardiner and Rachel Rose—are becoming Co-Directors of VMI. Rachel and Elee are gifted writers and mentors who are deeply committed to sustaining VMI but also to expanding what it can offer. This is just what VMI needs! I will be on hand for Rachel and Elee to confer with regarding administrating questions but am pleased to be focusing only on mentoring once again. It all makes for a delightful narrative arc.
Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Co-Director
Vancouver Manuscript Intensive allows writers a deep dive into the space where creativity mingles with form and craft. To work in collaboration with Rachel Rose as co-director of this supportive mentorship program is not only exciting professionally, but personally. That we get to do this in close communication with founder Betsy Warland makes the prospect even sweeter. Her guidance and connection, which is at the root of so many successful writing experiences, will continue to inform VMI. My decade directing Thursdays Writing Collective, a non-profit program for residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, involved editing and publishing with a wide range of people in diverse formats, including our nine anthologies. I’ve been on juries and run several reading series, including the travelling Postal Code Reading Series, and more recently an adaption to pandemic regulations, the Thunderbird digital series. As we plan VMI’s next stages of engaging with literary community, I am grateful for Betsy’s ethics and insight, and I look forward to working more deeply with the talented mentors and writers who make VMI so special.
Rachel Rose, Co-Director
I am thrilled to be the new Co-Director of Vancouver Manuscript Intensive with Elee Kraljii Gardiner. Having been well-mentored by Director Emeritus, founder, and all-around sage Betsy Warland, I come to this role with enthusiasm and gratitude. My teaching experience includes a fellowship at the University of Iowa, founding and hosting the Cross-Border Pollination Reading series, guest appearances at numerous festivals and workshops in Canada and internationally, and teaching creative writing at Kwantlen University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia.
As Co-Director, I will uphold the values of fairness, generosity, patience, and respect for the teaching of craft on the deepest level that Betsy Warland embodies as VMI’s creator and founder. Co-director Elee and I are fortunate to have complimentary skill sets, and as a team we will continue to grow and develop the program, while keeping true to the original mandate. Core values for me include supporting autonomy of thought, independence of expression and pedagogical style for each of our mentors in an atmosphere of mutual respect between mentor and student. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guide and shape this unique, valuable creative writing program.
VMI is a successful program because of its quality mentors, all working writers and experienced instructors at the top of their game. It offers the kind of individual, student-centered attention to a particular project that students in MFA programs seldom receive, but also offers community connection with a whole network of VMI graduates. VMI helps emerging writers thrive because of that tailored, individual approach to each project’s specific needs. Many of our graduates have gone on to publish books, win awards, and launch their own writing careers after their time at VMI.
During the pandemic, we have shifted our teaching to on-line. Our focus on individual pairings of mentors and mentees has been uniquely suited to make such a transition seamless.