OC profs to share their talents at Valley Voices

By College Relations | April 24, 2023

OC professors Hannah Calder and Corrina Chong
(LtoR) OC Professors Hannah Calder and Corinna Chong

The following media release is shared on behalf of Valley Voices:

Valley Voices to Echo Again in Vernon 

Published authors to participate in next Valley Voices reading series with a celebration of stories and a book launch at the Bean Scene coffee house May 10.

VERNON– As witnessed by the recent packed house upstairs at Vernon’s Bean Scene coffee house, the word is out about a new reading series in the Okanagan.

Valley Voices launched in Vernon April 19 during National Poetry Month with an enthusiastic crowd listening to award-winning poets Michelle Poirier Brown, Nancy Holmes and Sharon Thesen read from their respective works.   

The evening proved to be not only an example of the exceptional talent that can be found around the Okanagan, but it demonstrated the supportive network that exists amongst writers and readers, said Vernon poet Michelle Doege, one of the organizers of the event.

“It has been many years since we have been able to gather in such a momentous way and it was obvious that the desire to hear from our collective voices is still there,” she said.

Valley Voices will continue to attract lovers of the written word when recognized Okanagan writers Corinna Chong and Hannah Calder gather for an intimate storytelling session at the Bean Scene May 10 at 7 p.m.

Both Okanagan College professors and published authors, Chong will launch her new book of short stories, The Whole Animal, while Calder will read from current works in progress.

“I’m thrilled to see a new reading series that showcases the incredible community of writers we have here in the Okanagan,” says Chong. “Writing can be a lonely and discouraging endeavour, so being able to gather with and soak up the work of other artists is essential creative fuel.”

Calder, who teaches English and creative writing at Okanagan College, is also enthusiastic about seeing a new live event open up to writers, recalling that when she first moved to Vernon from Vancouver, she got her spoken word fix by attending readings at Gallery Vertigo, when it was located on the upper floor of the historic Winnipeg Union Bank building at 31st Street and 30th Avenue.

“It was a space that felt artsy and hip, and the readings I attended there had a big-city vibe to them. I would encourage my creative writing students to attend and write reviews of the events, and I even used the space for an end-of-term class reading,” said Calder.

“I am happy to hear that writers across the Okanagan and beyond will be able to connect with one another via the Valley Voices reading series. This is exciting news for all of us in the valley who write and who enjoy attending live readings.”

Like Calder, Chong,, who teaches creative writing and a slew of other courses at Okanagan College, hopes that students and anyone else who loves books and writing will attend the event.

“As much as it’s challenging to juggle my day job with my work as a writer, teaching keeps me on my toes. I’m always discovering new books and writers, and reading my students’ work inspires me to keep learning and honing my own creative projects,” she says.

Chong will launch her new short story collection, The Whole Animal, published this spring. The stories explore bodies both human and animal, and the dangerous ways we play with their power to inflict harm on ourselves and on others. Chong’s other short fiction has appeared in magazines including Grain, Room, and Riddle Fence. She won the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize for Kids in Kindergarten. Her first novel, Belinda's Rings, was published by NeWest Press in 2013

Calder has published two novels, More House (2009) and Piranesi’s Figures (2016), both with New Star Books in Vancouver, and is currently working on a third novel, a book of stories, and a nonfiction book about winter swimming.

“I'm excited to hear stories from Corinna’s new book,” said Calder. “Corinna is at the end of a project, while I'm closer to the middle. In fact, I have a few projects on the go –– all of them hovering around that middle-stage of development. I'd like to share a snippet from each one at the reading in May.”

The next Valley Voices takes place at the Bean Scene upper floor, 2923 30th Ave., Vernon on May 10 at 7 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments, treats, and books will be available for purchase. For more information, visit Valley Voices Okanagan on Facebook.



Sign up for weekly stories


Communications student standing outside the Centre for Learning building at the Kelowna campus
Meet Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores

April 4, 2023

Q: What's your name? A: Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores Q: What's your hometown? A: Quito – Ecuador – South America Q: How did you end up at Okanagan College? A: Well, I studied for a bachelor's degree in Law in Ecuador. Then, I worked for a while and got my Master's degree in Government and Culture of Organizations at the University of Pamplona.  When I returned to my country, professional opportunities arose for me. I mean, a Master's degree improved my career. Spain helped me develop ...

Animation student
Artistic students design future careers in animation

June 7, 2022

Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...

JAMK campus
OC Business students embrace international study again

May 30, 2022

Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences.  Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.  OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critical thinkin...

Enactus 2022
Enactus Okanagan College tops the field, sets sights on national championships

May 27, 2022

Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...