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Gail Sidonie Sobat

Gail Sidonie Šobat

Photo: Geoff McMaster

Canadian writer, Gail Sidonie Šobat, has assumed any number of guises in her lifetime, including that of teacher, adjunct professor, writer in residence, woman-in-black, professional actor and singer, grounds keeper, flag girl, pari-mutuel seller and flower seller. She is the creator/ coordinator of YouthWrite®, camps for kids who love to write…just about anything!©, its adult version, JustWrite, and the Spoken Word Youth Choir (SWYC), and is an instructor in the communications and arts and cultural management programs at MacEwan University and the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. 

Gail has moved forty times in her life from Badlands to Siksika Nation Reserve to hideous suburbs to Istanbul to the Sunshine Coast to her writer’s garret in a century-old temperamental house. She completed a Master’s degree in English at the University of Alberta, specializing in Children’s Literature, specializing in fantasy and is also a multi-award-winning teacher. For the Legacy Project, a high school program addressing the gulf between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, Gail and her co-creators (Wally Diefenthaler and Kaye Steward) were named finalists for the Governor General Excellence in Teaching Award and garnered national recognition and international attention.

Experience in professional theatre and singing make Gail at ease in performance and with any age group. Described as vivacious and lively, Gail is frequently sought after as a performer, speaker, workshop presenter and writer-in-residence. She has presented across Canada, including Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Jasper, Banff, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal (with the TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2004), through Northern Saskatchewan with the Pahkisimon Nuye?áh Library System, in Doha, Qatar with the Qatar Reads Association; in Hanoi, Vietnam; at conferences throughout Alberta; in Cincinnati, Ohio; Monteagle, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; at the International Conference on Poetry, Biography and Canon in Bern, Switzerland; and at the Death in Literature Conference at the Helsinki Academy for Advanced Studies. Gail has been writer in residence in several Edmonton schools, at Queens’ University, in Doha, Qatar, at the University of Alberta through the Canadian Authors Association, at the UN International School of Hanoi, and most recently at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Gail’s work has been published in academic and literary journals, anthologies, and has been broadcast on radio and performed on stage. She is the author of Gravity Journal (a White Pine Honour Book, a Moonbeam Gold Award winner, and a 2011 Stellar Award nominee); the YA fantasy series Ingamald, A Winter’s Tale (a White Pine Award nominee) and A Glass Darkly (an R. Ross Annett nominee); a novel for adults, the IPPY award-winning The Book of Mary; and a collection of poetry, Aortic Caprice.  Her picture book, In the Graveyard, illustrated by Spyder Yardley-Jones, was released in 2011 to critical acclaim, and her YA novel, Chance to Dance for You, is a Moonbeam Award winner, a 2012 White Pine Honour Book, and was long-listed for the 2012 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.  Not With a Bang (2012) was also long-listed for the 2013 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award and the How the Light is Spent (2013), her second poetry collection, won the Whistler Independent Book Award (2016).  Jamie’s Got a Gun (2014), Gail’s YA graphic novel won a 2015 Moonbeam Award (Silver). Her twelfth book, Lessons from the Greeks, won the Eyelands International Award and was published in both English and Greek in 2021.

Email:
gsobat@gmail.com
City:
Edmonton
Province:
Alberta
Genre:
YA Fiction, Fantasy, Poetry; Literary Fiction, Poetry (adults)
I write professionally in the following language(s):
English

Publications

Lessons from the Greeks. 2021, Strange Days Books
Jamie's Got a Gun. 2014, Great Plains Publications
How the Light is Spent. 2013, Wintergreen Studios Press
Not With a Bang. 2012, Palimpsest Press
Chance to Dance for You. 2011, Great Plains Publications
In the Graveyard. 2011, Bryler Press
Gravity Journal. 2008, Great Plains Publications
The Book of Mary. 2006, Sumach Press
A Glass Darkly. 2006, Great Plains Publications
A Winter's Tale. 2004, Great Plains Publications
Aortic Caprice. 2003/2004, River Books
Ingamald. 2001, Spotted Cow Press

Awards

Eyelands International Award for Lessons from the Greeks, 2021
Whistler Independent Book Awards for How the Light is Spent, 2016
Moonbeam Award for Jamie's Got a Gun, 2014
White Pine Honour Book for Chance to Dance for You, 2012
Canadian Authors' Association's Exporting Alberta Award for 2012, Chance to Dance for You
Moonbeam Award for Chance to Dance for You, 2011
Moonbeam Award for Gravity Journal, 2009
White Pine Honour Book for Gravity Journal, 2009
Independent Publisher Book Award for The Book of Mary, 2007
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:
Yes

WITS

Are you available for public presentations and/or workshops:
Yes
Presentation Description

As an award-winning arts educator who has worked in elementary, junior high, high school and university settings, and as writing mentor, Gail has worked extensively with people of many ages and from diverse backgrounds, including at-risk youth/adults.

For Young Audiences:

When Gail presents a workshop or gives a talk or reading, she chooses and performs excerpts that are dramatic in nature. Shehas a background in performing arts, professional speech and singing training, and often peppers presentations with personal anecdotes and music, sometimes inviting the students to join in. Gail is comfortable with large groups (with sound system, please) and workshops with smaller groups.
An ideal workshop size is 15, but she can work with groups of 20-30 people.

Just for Educators:
Gail is comfortable in educational settings and is very familiar with the rigours and requirements of
the elementary or secondary school teacher (Grades K-12). She is very familiar with Writer’s Workshop and 6+1 Trait® Writing.

Any workshop, reading or presentation can be tailored to meet your needs or requests. For example, a presentation may consist of a 20-30-minute reading, followed by discussion and questions (total of one hour) OR a presentation may consist of a 20-30 minute reading, followed by discussion and questions, and culminating in creative writing exercises involving students (half-day). Discussion may include the writing process from brainstorming to writing drafts to finished product, and/or may focus on young adult markets and requirements for student submissions.

More formally, the reading/ discussion can be tailored to fit within current English/Language Arts
area of study, matching objectives as per English/ Language Arts curricula (K-12), or appropriate to AP or IB English studies.

Longer sessions may include several classes to a full-week or two-week residency to afford
opportunities to: write creatively, incorporate drama into the creative process, work on editing and
proofing skills, work one-on-one, facilitate student (and staff) anthology creation, or facilitate a
culminating activity such as a café reading or school-wide student presentations.

Gail is also happy to work and meet with any staff interested in writing and/or publishing.
 

For further details on workshops and presentations, please visit her website.

Presentation Length:
45-60 minutes (flexible)
Genre:
YA Fiction, Fantasy, Poetry; Literary Fiction, Poetry (adults)
Grades:
Grades 4-6, 7-12, Adults
Audience Size:
negotiable
Presenation:
$400 for 1 session, $650 for 2, $900 for 3 and $1100 for 4, + travel (and accommodations, if applicable)
Workshop Description:

Please see above.

For further details on workshops and presentations, please visit her website.

Workshop Length:
45-60 minutes (flexible)
Workshop Intended Audience:
Grades 4-6, 7-12, Adults
Workshop Audience Size:
negotiable
Workshop Fee:
$400 for 1 session, $650 for 2, $900 for 3 and $1100 for 4, + travel (and accommodations, if applicable)
Are you available for school visits?:
Yes
School Presentation Description:

Please see above.

For further details on workshops and presentations, please visit her website.

School Presentation Length:
45-60 minutes (flexible)
School Intended Audience:
Grades 4-6, Grades 7-12, adult
School Audience Size:
negotiable
School Presentation Fee:
$400 for 1 session, $650 for 2, $900 for 3 and $1100 for 4, + travel (and accommodations, if applicable)
Interested in participating in the Union’s Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools program:
Yes
Interested in participating in the Northern Ontario WITS program:
Yes