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Shelley A. Leedahl


Shelley A. Leedahl is a prolific multi-genre writer. Her most recent books are The Moon Watched It All (all ages, Illustrator Aino Anto, Red Deer Press; I Wasn't Always Like This (essays, Signature Editons. Winnipeg); Listen, Honey (short stories, DC Books, Montreal); Wretched Beast (poetry, BuschekBooks, Ottawa); and The House of the Easily Amused (poetry, Oolichan Books, Lantzville, BC). In 2022, Radiant Press will release her poetry collection Go.

In 2020 Shelley was the recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts' Digital Originals grant, which faciliated the creation and professional production of her literary podcast "Something Like Love".

Leedahl's work has frequently been anthologized in books ranging from Great Canadian Murder and Mystery Stories (Quarry Press) to The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English, Tenth Anniversary Edition 2017 (Tightrope Books), and it appears in the recently-published We Are One: Poems From the Pandemic (Bayeux Arts).

She has regularly led creative writing workshops and enjoyed Writer-in-Residency positions with the Quebec Writers Federation, the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, and Sage Hill (Youth Writing Camps in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, SK). She also works as an editor, manuscript evaluator, book reviewer (for SK Books), and freelancer, and often presents in schools and universities. She was employed as a radio advertising copywriter for several years. In 2019 she added "lyricist" to her curriculum vitae: she's collaborated on music for the Vancouver/San Francisco-based indie band Maltavar.

Leedahl has been the recipient of a number of national and international Fellowships. In 2009 she was a Fellow at Fundacion Valparaiso, in Mojacar, Almeria, Spain. In 2006 she was awarded both the Wallace Stegner Grant for the Arts (Eastend, SK) and a Fellowship to attend the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences in Georgia (US). In 2004 she was a Fellow at the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers (Scotland), and in 2002/2003 she was one of five Canadian writers selected for the Canada-Mexico Writing/Photography Exchange in Mérida (Mexico) and Banff.

Other career highlights include participation in the Labrador Creative Writing Festival, and having her children's book, The Bone Talker selected for a White Ravens designation and publication in Braille. She has thrice been shortlisted for the National CBC Radio Literary Awards (Poetry Category). 

Aside from writing, Leedahl enjoys long distance running; hiking; kayaking; building community; and playing piano, guitar and singing in seniors' facilities. The Saskatchewan-born and raised writer now lives in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island.

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada


The Bone Talker. Red Deer Press, 1999; Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2005.
Orchestra of the Lost Steps. Thistledown Press, 2004.
Talking Down the Northern Lights. Thistledown Press, 2001.
Tell Me Everything. Coteau Books, 2000.
A Few Words For January. Thistledown Press, 1997, 1990
Sky Kickers. Thistledown Press, 1994
The House of the Easily Amused. Oolichan Books, 2008
Wretched Beast. BuschekBooks, 2011
Riding Planet Earth. Phoenix Books, Thistledown Press, Roussan Publishers Inc, 2010, 2006, 1997
Listen, Honey. DC Books, 2012
The Moon Watched It All. Red Deer Press, 2019
I Wasn't Always Like This (Essays). Signature Editions, 2014


Nominated, Saskatchewan Book Awards: Book of the Year, Fiction Book of the Year, Saskatoon Book of the Year for Orchestra of the Lost Steps, 2004.
Winner, John V. Hicks Manuscript Award (for "Orchestra of the Lost Steps" - stories) for Orchestra of the Lost Steps, 2001.
Nominated, Saskatchewan Book of Poetry Award and Saskatoon Book Award for Talking Down The Northern Lights, 2001.
Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year, Children's Literature (United States) for The Bone Talker, 2000.
Nominated, Saskatchewan Book Awards: Book of the Year and Children's Literature Award for The Bone Talker, 1999.
Saskatchewan Writers Guild Short Manuscript Awards for First Place, Creative NonFiction; First Place, Children's Literature, 2006
Shortlisted for CBC Radio Literary Competition ("The Blue Notebook," poetry), 2007
Winner, John V. Hicks Manuscript Award (for "The Blue Notebook" - poetry), 2008
Arc Poem of The Year Contest for Editor's Choice Award, 2009
CBC Radio Literary Competition for Poetry Suite "Wretched Beast" shortlisted, 2009
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

Available for public readings across Canada and school presentations.

The illustrated children's book The Moon Watched It All (Red Deer Press, 2019) is best suited for grades 3-4 students. The presentation includes original music, which the students can sing along with. The story is a poetic and timeless tale about finding one's way in the sometimes difficult world, the gift of friendship, and overcoming loneliness. 

With kindergarten to grade 4 students, Leedahl presents a mini-drama using her illustrated book The Bone Talker. All students are involved, and one adult volunteer is needed to dress up in the "Grandmother Bones" costume and sit in a rocking chair beside Leedahl. Maximum group for this 30 minute presentation is 50.

Leedahl's lively one-hour presentation from her popular novel Riding Planet Earth is specifically for grades 6-8 students. Two classes maximum, and students must have the first 4 chapters of the novel read before Leedahl's visit.This novel is taught in several Canadian schools and remains popular with students and teachers alike. The presentation includes the sharing of the secrets behind the story, how the first draft of the book was written in collaboration with a grade 6\7 classroom in Saskatoon, a discussion of how Leedahl came to be a writer, and a Q and A period. This realistic story concerns a 12 year old boy, Ringo, who moves from Gibsons, BC to Saskatoon, SK, and deals with an unusual family, a dangerous school bully, and a first girlfriend while adjusting to his new home.

For high school students and adult audiences, Leedahl presents multi-genre readings with ample time for discussion, questions, and book signings. Poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction may be presented.

NOTE: for all school presentations, teachers are asked to send a note home with students prior to the author visit re: the availability of students receiving their own signed copy of the book. 

Presentation Length:
30 min or 1 hour
mini-drama, poetry, fiction
Workshop Description:

Leedahl has been delivering readings and workshops for writers of all ages and experience since the 1980s. She's been highly active in schools from Goose Bay to Victoria.

Workshops in poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction are available for up to 12 participants per group. 

Please e-mail to discuss.

Northern OAC WITS:
GST not applicable