March 30, 2018

The Warrior and The Watch House

News from the fight against the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline on Burnaby Mountain. I talked in depth to members of the Tsleil Waututh Nation about the iconic and moving Watch House built 50 yards from Kinder Morgan’s east gate.

From The National Observer.


January 5, 2018

Leap into 2018 with a Fiction and Memoir Bootcamp

If you are looking to make deep progress on your novel, short stories, or memoir in 2018, come join a group of motivated writers over two Saturdays — Jan 27 and Feb 3 — in Vancouver for a Fiction and Memoir Bootcamp.

All info below. It is being put on by The Writers’ Studio at Simon Fraser, and will involve 10 to 20 writers, all throwing themselves into new work, or making deep progress on present manuscripts. The workshops examines all phases of manuscript creating, from dream stage through intensive first drafting to deep revision and polishing — so the course will meet you at whatever stage you are. It is a wonderful way to jump into 2018 and kickstart your writing. The sessions are a creative mix of free writing, structuring, learning (re) learning the art of revision, exploring together and separately.

For more info, see below.

October 6, 2017

Lighting Out — at the Vancouver Writers Festival

I’ll be moderating a really lively discussion on Wednesday, October 18 at the Vancouver Writers Fest. with Cecil Castellucci who has written a fabulous graphic novel of teenage flight, into the world of boxcars, danger and love in the hobo jungles in the 1930s. To survive, the main character turns herself from looking like a girl, into passing for a boy, as often did happen with girls in the mainly undocumented adventures of the past.  Joining Cecil is Allan Stratton, a multi-award winning author, whose books have a wide teenage following.  Allan has tackled hugely difficult issues in the past, and comes ready to engage young adults about his engaging book  The Way Back Home, where the main character, Zoe, breaks free and hits the road with her aging Grandmother.

These are stories of adventure — with anguish and heart. Come join us!


September 15, 2017

Getting to Open, September 23, 2017

Every writer wants to “hit the open zone” where writing is a deep and pleasurable part of the day, where creation comes smoothly and on a consistent basis, where we become lost inside the story, and where what we write feels rich and authentic. This three-hour course, open to writers of all genres and all levels, explores the habits, tools and attitudes that can take us to open–both on the page and in our lives as writers. Some of what you will learn includes:

  • How to develop techniques for getting yourself to the desk/coffee shop on a daily basis. How to push through blocks that make us minimize writing, or don’t allow us the time for creativity
  • How to successfully launch each writing session by developing your unique habits and rituals
  • How long to write for, what feels right for different projects, and when to stop
  • How to open yourself to your own muse through a variety of techniques including free flow, journaling, writing longhand, “doodling and drifting,” and timed writing sessions.
  • Explore methods for excavating your most important ideas, memories and stories
  • How to create a “working garden” of different projects so you can “go where the heat is” at each writing session
  • Develop techniques to blast through writer’s block, to silence the inner critic, and to face down “imposter syndrome”
  • Find ways to nurture your self-identity as a flourishing writer within your community

The course includes individual exercises, group discussion, activities and lectures. Please bring a notebook or paper, and a pen.

Date(s): Sat, September 23, 2017, 10am – 1pm

Location: Room 1500, SFU Vancouver (Harbour Centre)

Cost: $30  Register



Phone: 778-782-8000 (or toll-free 1-844-782-8877)

May 29, 2017

Here it is…. Best Canadian Stories 16.

I’m so delighted to be in this volume — which is the last to be published by Oberon Press, and selected by editing luminary John Metcalf. (After this year, Oberon is passing the Best Canadian Stories flame to Biblioasis publisher, Dan Wells. )  Thrilled that my short story, The Wolf Expert, originally published in Canadian Notes & Queries, has been published in these pages with Canadian writers I so admire: Elise Levine, Douglas Glover, Kathy Page, Pauline Holdstock and many talented others.

May 1, 2017

Writing What you Don’t Know: Reading and Discussion at Historic Joy Kogawa House

Come join us at Historic Joy Kogawa House for a reading of RADIANCE by author SHAENA LAMBERT and a discussion about writing across boundaries and into the imaginary lives of others.

Presented and facilitated by Carmen Rodriguez, Writer-in-Residence, Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Mon. May 8, 7 – 9 p.m.

1450 West 64th. Ave., Vancouver



Keiko, a survivor of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and left her with disfiguring radiation scars, is chosen from hundreds of young women to receive plastic surgery in the United States. Radiance does not only tell Keiko’s story, but also Daisy’s, her “house mother,” while exposing the tensions and contradictions that riddled the U.S. during the 1950’s.


March 20, 2017

North Shore Writers Festival — The Best Kind of People with Zoe Whittall and Shaena Lambert 3:45-5:00pm | City Hall Atrium

The North Shore Writers Festival is coming up, April 7th and 8th — with some really wonderful programming and discussions. On Saturday, April 8 I will have the great pleasure of interviewing Zoe Whittall onstage about her acclaimed, Giller shortlisted novel, The Best Kind of People.  Here is what the program says…

  • Join Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Zoe Whittall in conversation with Canadian novelist Shaena Lambert. Whittall will discuss not only the writing experience behind her highly acclaimed novel The Best Kind of People, but also the compelling themes and characters that are embedded within her story.What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

March 20, 2017

Creative Neighbours Salon, Sunday March 26

On Sunday I’m looking forward to presenting some thoughts on short story writing at a westside creative artists salon. If you are an artist, writer, neighbour, or just interested, I hope you’ll join us.

The Salon is a Kitsilano  & West Point Grey monthly get together to explore, see, hear, and discuss art and its process.  The Salons were started by Mary Bennett, a visual artist and they are held in David Eby’s offices on West Broadway, who has kindly donated his space for neighbourhood projects.

Beth Coleman, a playwright whom I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring, invited me to be part of it. She wrote to say, “In the past season I enjoyed learning about automatons as art, experiencing oral story telling myths, exploring labyrinths as spiritual and art forms,  studying abstract paintings of nature.”

So here is what I’ll be presenting on this Sunday….

Dreaming and Writing Short Stories — The Art of Getting Lost

“When I write short stories, it feels as though it is a craft, yes, but also a mystery. Part of that mystery requires following some of the quirky rules of a fairy tale journey. You need to go deep into the unknown. You may need to call on magical helpers to assist you. And somewhere along the way you almost always end up totally lost. All the breadcrumbs are eaten, and often it is out of this – this true confusion as to direction – that the meaning of a piece emerges to ignite the imagination and show the way home. We will explore this creative arc, do some writing exercises to get in touch with people’s unique voices (bring a pen and paper) and I’ll talk about and read from a recent short story.”

Date: Sunday, March 26, 2017

Place: David Eby’s Community Office, 2909 West Broadway (at Bayswater)

Time: 6-7 pm Potluck food; 7-8 pm Presenter; 8-9 pm Socialize and network

Bring: Dessert or finger food for sharing. There will be a networking table for flyers and cards about upcoming performances and exhibitions.

Questions? Contact

February 14, 2017

Hollyhock Writing Workshop — Going under the Words

Dear writing friends,

Would you like to make deep progress on your writing in a hugely beautiful and creative location?

I’m teaching Going Under the Words – Creating Fiction and Memoir — a five-day writing workshop at the Hollyhock Retreat Centre, on Cortes Island – June 2-7.

I hope you’ll consider joining me and other writers there.

It’s hard not to effuse madly about Hollyhock. I’m thrilled to be teaching there. It’s one of the most enchanting environments I know. The forest surrounds you. The beach is close. The surf is sounding in your sleep. The garden is a perfect place to write, under the apple tree, beside the head-high delphiniums. (I wrote my story, Oh, My Darling at that wooden table.) But there are hundreds of quiet nooks to steal away and write (including by a fire in the lodge if it’s raining).

Whether you are beginning a new project, or diving into finding your voice for the first time, or are deep into the revision or editing stage of a long-developed work-in-progress, this workshop is designed to find you where you are, and to give you guidance and tools for the journey.

It will be an intense mix of exploratory writing – to free your voice and hit a ‘creative flow’ – and daily group lectures and experiments on key aspects of creating a narrative (from dream stage, to structuring your work, to writing with intensity, to revising, editing and publishing). Your writing will be workshopped in a supportive group setting, and some time will be set aside to discuss your writing one-on-one with me.  We will also spend time exploring the writing business, and how to build – and sustain – a writer’s life.

You can follow the link, below to find more information and/or to register. There is also info about scholarships. And information about how to get to Cortes Island – you can go by ferry, or take a watertaxi from Campbell River, or even take a floatplane.

Many good wishes to you all. I hope I get to see you there in June,



Hollyhock at: 1-800-933-6339 x 232.

December 15, 2016

Bootcamp/2017 – Get your book into shape fast

I am teaching a novel and memoir writing bootcamp in late January, through SFU’s Writers’ Studio. Whether you are deep into a manuscript, or just starting out, the bootcamp can provide the energy and inspiration to make real tracks with a book.

It takes place on two Saturdays, Jan 28 and Feb 4th. It’s a chance to learn new techniques, work fast, experiment and play with your work, going much deeper and surprising yourself —  before the inner critic holds out a hand and says, no!

There will be a mix of supported writing time, seminars and experiments to uncover the unique threads of action, plot and character that can lead you naturally to the end of your piece.

The details are attached in this Simon Fraser University link.


December 15, 2016

The Wolf Expert in Fall CNQ

I’m thrilled to have my short story The Wolf Expert published in this fall’s Canadian Notes & Queries, and to be anthologized in 2016’s Best Canadian Stories, from Oberon Press. This season’s CNQ is a really interesting one, with pieces by Anakana Schofield, Brian Busby, and Patricia Robertson. This is CNQ’s first colour edition, under the new editorship of Emily Donaldson. My story is beautifully illustrated by a photograph by Nancy Friedland. Such a wonderful magazine. I’m glad my story found a  home in it.

September 9, 2016

Searching for the Source — Writers’ Fest Event

Where do writers find the juice that makes their fiction come alive? Where do they go, and how do they find the courage to explore the secrets, crimes, confusions, reconciliation and forgiveness — the human depths in other words — that fiction writers need to tap to create stories that are truly meaningful, complex and compelling. “Only Trouble is Interesting,” the fiction writer Janet Burroway says in her seminal book on writing fiction, and I am delighted to be moderating this session with three hugely talented writers who have explored Trouble, and made it their own: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s, Ashley Little, and Francesca Melandri. Three award-winning authors from Canada, the US and Italy.

6:00-7:15, Tuesday, October 18th, Studio 1398, Granville Island.


September 9, 2016

Vancouver Writers’ Festival — A Conversation with Teva Harrison

I will be conducting an on-stage conversation with Teva Harrison, the author of In-Between Days, at the Vancouver Writers’ Festival. Teva’s graphic novel on living with, and creating in the face of, terminal breast cancer was heralded as one of the most anticipated books of 2016, by The Globe and Mail. 

I already admire her chutzpah and grace — and humour — and I know we’ll have a lot to discuss. I have fictionalized my own breast cancer experiences in three stories, Oh, My Darling, In Delphi, and — most recently — The Wolf Expert.

EVENT #60. Friday October 21st, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm, at Studio 1398.

July 24, 2015

Hiroshima 70th Anniversary

I am looking forward to this Vancouver Library event. On July 29th, 7 pm, I’m participating in a special program to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It is a multimedia event with Cathy Stonehouse – reading from her collection Grace Shiver — Tetsuro Shigematsu – previewing the play Empire of the Son — and me, reading from Radiance.

There will be a discussion time with the audience and other panelist. I am looking forward to talking about creating imaginary worlds out of the shadowy and burning stories of The Atomic Age.

Please share with others. Thanks!

Vancouver Public Library | Central Library
350 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 6B1
radiance cover

December 6, 2014

Finding Hope on Burnaby Mountain

 My daughter and I were among the 125 citizens who got arrested on Burnaby Mountain, crossing the police tape line to protest the oil pipe line that Kinder Morgan wants to run from the oil sands, through Burnaby Mountain, to the harbour. Below is a short piece I wrote about it soon after. Since writing this piece, Kinder Morgan was denied an extension of its drilling, and all charges were dropped against protestors, as Kinder Morgan had had the wrong GPS coordinates. Crossing the line and getting arrested was a thrilling and frightening experience, but one I’m proud of — both for myself and for my daughter. It moves me to think of being part of this great movement, which includes First Nations leaders, children, grandmothers, and so many wonderful young men and women, who camped on the mountain through rain and freezing cold, and who led the charge.


Finding Hope on Burnaby Mountain


“Mum, I think I’m going to get arrested today.”

Lucy, my nineteen-year-old, said this as we stood on Burnaby Mountain last Sunday. I felt my heart start to beat fast. I could read her stubborn, lit-up expression. It was the same one she’d get before snow-plow-bombing down a ski hill when she was little. Now she had dreadlocks and striped leggings and smelled of wood smoke, but it was the same message: Nothing was going to stop her.

Below us near the highway a crowd was preparing to march up the hill to where Kinder Morgan was drilling into the mountain core, testing for an oil pipeline which, if built, would carry 890,000 barrels of oil a day from the Alberta oil sands to tankers in our harbour. The area was marked off with yellow police tape and guarded by dozens of police.

“Okay.” I felt myself choke up. “It’s your decision.” Which she knew. But which I said anyway.

As I walked back into the crowd, I realized I knew this was coming. Lucy has always been passionate about what was happening to the earth. She would come home from grade school in tears about climate change, species extinction, forest degradation, and I would worry about how to comfort her. How do you begin to address the sadness in a child, as they hear about these things? What can a parent possibly say? Or do?

Now at Burnaby Mountain, Lucy was ready to take action herself. She was one of dozens of young people – bearded, dreadlocked, thoughtful, rebellious, joyous – who, along with First Nations, had taken the lead, camping, risking arrest, keeping a sacred fire burning. I could feel their energy as I joined the crowd – a pulse of hope.

And when the question came a few moments later, Who is planning to risk arrest today? to my surprise an eleven-year old girl, sporting a tiger-eared hat and a hand-made placard, put up her hand.

“I am,” she said.

She and her mother had both decided to walk under the yellow police tape. “I can’t stand the sound of that drilling,” the girl, Kate said. “It’s driving me crazy.”

Again, that pulse of hope.

Which may be why, forty five minutes later, Lucy and I were holding hands above our heads in a salute with Kate and her mother, Kim, and all four of us were leading the demonstration up the hill. A hundred people chanted behind us, “Hey hey – ho ho, Kinder Morgan has got to go!”

We would get arrested all together — a double mother-daughter whammy.

The police barrier came into view. There were a dozen police in green-neon coats standing with crossed arms, legs spread, guarding the tape barrier. Beyond them were paddy wagons. And beyond that? The Kinder Morgan drill, droning steadily.

I glanced at Lucy. She looked jubilant, purposeful, and I realized all at once that she was pouring strength into my hand. “Here goes,” she said. We took hold of the yellow tape and stepped under.

What followed happened quickly. The police closed in – their politeness almost surreal after seeing pictures earlier in the week of police struggling with protestors. A police officer skimmed close and took my arm: “You’re under arrest – what’s your name?” I told him. He gave me a smile, “My name is Terry,” he said, as though leading me onto a dance floor.

The rest was less pleasant. We were handcuffed and placed in a paddy wagon. Then, at the jail, we were ordered to take off all but one layer of clothing. When I said I needed my glasses, I was told by a police officer: “Why? You’ll be in a jail cell, there’s nothing to see.” We were each placed in a solitary cell with a narrow built-in bench, a metal toilet in the centre, and a video camera on the cracked ceiling.

I spent the four hours we were jailed trying not to worry, and breaking my time by doing yoga, finding out later that Lucy was doing yoga in her cell, as was another arrestee, Jeremy. (We must have been an unusual sight on the video monitors!) It took work to fight off the frightening feeling of not being free. I worried about whether we’d be able to travel to the States. I worried a lot.

To ward off these fears, I replayed walking up the hill, Lucy beside me. And yes, there it was again – that surge of hope and happiness, almost on a cellular level. I was incarcerated, in stocking feet, without my glasses, being watched on a video camera. They had even taken my bra (the danger of underwire!).

But we had done exactly what we needed to do. We held hands and faced the frightening beast called climate change.

Sitting in that jail cell, my brave daughter close by, I am exactly the mother I most want to be.


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Oh, My Darling
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Die fallende Frau

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