Tena Laing is a writer and teacher, now completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in the Optional Residency Program. An identical twin, originally from Newfoundland, Tena lives and writes in Toronto, but has also called Halifax, Quebec City, Tokyo, Calgary, and Katy, Texas home
Tena is an alum of the Banff Centre, Sage Hill Writing Experience, University of Toronto Literary Novel Master Class and Summer Writing School, the Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking, and the Humber School for Writers where Wayson Choy galvanized her to take her writing more seriously by telling her to just quit her job and write her book. She has read her fiction at the Toronto International Festival of Authors and is a regular presenter at the Local Writers event at Writers at Woody Point Festival in Newfoundland.
Her writing explores the edge where things unravel, the ways characters cope with fear and reach for hope or find distraction in moments where they face the disconnect between the lives and relationships they had yearned for, and the ones they actually have. It speaks to these opposing realities: the severed personal connection and the instant intimacy that our growing obsession with, and reliance on, technology has wrought, as well as the shifting relational power dynamics between romantic partners, friends, colleagues, and family members – particularly sisters. Tena’s stories have appeared in Writing in the Time of Covid, Writing From the Inside Out, The Read, and Villamere. Her mentors and instructors have included Miriam Toews, Wayson Choy, Alison Pick, Alyssa York, Merilyn Simmonds, Wayne Grady, Nancy Lee, Alix Ohlin, Doretta Lau, Bronwen Tate, and John Vigna.
Tena is on the editorial board of Prism International literary magazine and has worked as graduate assistant for the three popular UBC/edX How to Write a Novel courses: Structure & Outline, Writing the Draft, and Edit & Revise. She is a graduate teaching assistant for the Intro to Fiction and Intro to Creative Writing undergraduate classes.
She is currently at work on her thesis, a collection of short stories, and revising two of her ‘first’ novels, one of which won Best Novel in the Muskoka Novel Marathon Manuscript Contest.
Here are the blogs of some of Tena’s treasured writing cohort…