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Donna Besel

Photo: Kristen Sawatzky 2020

Donna Besel loves writing of all kinds and leads workshops for writers of all ages.

Her collection of short stories, Lessons from a Nude Man, captured fourth place spot on McNally Robinson Bookstore’s annual bestsellers list, and nominations for Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and Most Promising Manitoba Writer. Her work has also gained recognition from Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Arts Council, and Canada ReLit Awards.

Nonfiction prizes include first place in This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt,” first and second place in Prairie Fire Magazine’s annual contests, and three finalist spots in CBC Literary Awards. She has also written numerous nonfiction magazine articles on building methods, cottage construction, crafts, music, outdoor recreation, eco-tourism, the arts and artists, writers, and writing.

In 2017, the University of Manitoba featured her in their alumni magazine, in an article about overcoming adversity. In 2018, Caitlin Press published her essay in Love Me True:Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage, an anthology about marriage. In the spring of 2021, Manitoba Arts Council honoured her with their Rural Recognition Award, a tribute to her work as a writer and as a longtime supporter of rural artists. In the fall of 2021, University of Regina Press will publish a memoir, The Unravelling: Incest and the Destruction of a Family. 

The forests of Eastern Manitoba, where she has always lived, provide endless ideas and settings for her “boreal stories.”

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Lessons from a Nude Man. Hagios Press, 2015
The Unravelling: Incest and the Destruction of a Family. University of Regina Press, 2021


The Bay Filly for Prairie Fire Magazine, 2019
Dead Skunk for Prairie Fire Magazine, 2002
CBC Literary Awards Shortlist for CBC Radio, 2009
CBC Canada Writes Contest for CBC Radio, 2007
Great Canadian Literary Hunt for This Magazine, 2013
CBC Literary Awards Longlist for CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize, 2016
Canada ReLit Awards for ReLIt Long Shortlist, 2016
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


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