Heather Kirk Author
heather kirk, speaker
Heather Kirk, Author
Welcome to Heather Kirk's web site. Heather's Biography and Resumé
Resumé section includes:
  • Employment
  • Awards, Distinctions, and Mentions
  • Professional Memberships
  • Education
  • Selected Publications
Welcome to Heather Kirk's web site.

Baby Photo of Heather KirkBiography
Heather Kirk was born in London, Ontario, but she moved with her parents to Oakville, Ontario when she was six months old.  In Oakville, she attended Miss Lightbourn’s School and Oakville Trafalgar High School.  She also took piano lessons from Mary MacKinnon Shore and art lessons from Patricia Goss.

Because of her admiration for Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, Heather left Oakville after Grade Twelve and took her senior matriculation at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, P.E.I.  While in Charlottetown she decided to become a writer.  This decision at the age of seventeen, led her to take a year off school.

During this year she learned typing in Toronto and worked as a newspaper reporter in North Surrey, B.C.  Then she returned to the Maritimes to study English literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S. She graduated from Dalhouse in 1973 with first class honours in English and was awarded several scholarships for further studies.

When she finished her Master’s degree in English at the University of Toronto in 1975, Heather could not find a job in publishing , so she became a lecturer in English at the University of Alberta and then the University of Warsaw.  In Warsaw she found time to write an experimental novel, two dozen poems, seven short stories, and several essays. She also worked as an editor for the Polish Interpress Agency, editing English-language articles about Poland.

Returning to Canada in 1979, Heather taught for three years at Grande Prairie Regional College, about 500 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, Alberta.  For two of those years she also wrote radio scripts about the history of the Peace River Country for CJXX Radio, a country and western station in Grande Prairie.  To research her radio scripts, she worked with Isabel M. Campbell, a pioneering historian of the Peace.

In 1984, Heather began studying part time for a Ph.D. in English at York University in Toronto.  She also began writing a novel about Poland. In 1989, Heather decided she didn’t have time to finish her Ph.D. because she wanted to spend more time writing, so she accepted another Master’s degree and left York. 

Since 2001 Heather has published two young-adult novels, Warsaw Spring and A Drop of Rain.  She has also published her own version of the classic Canadian novel Wacousta by John Richardson.  As well, she has published two nonfiction books about Mazo de la Roche.  Another book--a nonfiction introduction to the Polish Solidarity movement -- was published in November 2011. Still another book--an introduction to the Quakers and their peace work--was published in the Spring of 2017.

Heather taught writing courses part time at Georgian College for 20 years from 1990 to 2009. 

Heather’s favourite book is Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery.  Her favourite Canadian author is Gabrielle Roy. 

Heather Kirk with her dog.
Welcome to Heather Kirk's web site.


1984-2023: Freelance writer.  Recent fiction projects include two novels for young adults set in modern Poland and Canada: Warsaw Spring (Toronto: Napoleon Publishing, 2001) and its sequel, A Drop of Rain (Napoleon, 2004).  Heather also rewrote and condensed the classic Canadian novel, Wacousta, by John Richardson (Ottawa: Winding Trail Press, 2005). Recent non-fiction projects include a biography of Canadian author, Mazo de la Roche, and a book about the sources of de la Roche’s world-famous Jalna novels. The biography, titled Mazo de la Roche: Rich and Famous Writer, was published by XYZ Publishing in 2006.  The second book about de la Roche, titled Who Were the Whiteoaks and Where Was Jalna?, was published by Borealis-Tecumseh Press in 2007. Heather’s next book was Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity” (Ottawa, ON: Borealis Press, 2011). Subsequently she published a book titled Seeking Peace: The Quakers (Borealis Press, 2017).

1990-2009: Instructor.  Part time only. Georgian College. Workshops and courses on writing for children, writing for magazines, communications, creative writing, children’s literature, and English grammar and style.

1990-1994: Associate Editor, CANSCAIP News, a quarterly publication of the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers.  This involved four two-week periods yearly of editing most of the publication and contributing articles and photographs.

1981-1984: Radio script writer, CJXX Radio, Grande Prairie, Alberta.  Two daily programs on the history of the Peace River country: Heritage and On This Day in 1958.

1980-1983: Instructor, Upgrading and University-transfer Departments, Grande Prairie Regional College, Grande Prairie, Alberta.  Grades 10 to 12 English; university-level English composition, English literature, Canadian literature; non-credit courses in creative writing.

1977-1979: Tutor and lecturer, English Institute, University of Warsaw, Warsaw Poland.  Taught mainly composition skills to senior students writing their M.A. theses.  Editor, Polish Interpress Agency, Warsaw, Poland.  Working with Polish translators and rewriting their English-language texts to improve style.  Texts mainly published in Contemporary Poland and Poland Tourism, but also in foreign journals such as the New York Times.   One long text, a biography of Pope John Paul II, was published as a book by Collins in the U.S.

1976-1977: Sessional lecturer, Department of English, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Taught English composition, grammar, and literature to first-year students and children’s literature to fourth-year students.

1965-75: Various jobs including waitress at Camp Manitou-Wabing in Parry Sound, ON; art-gallery guide at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, PEI; newspaper reporter for the Herald, North Surrey, BC; and advertising copy writer for the Chronicle-Herald, Halifax, NS.   

Awards, Distinctions, and Mentions

2011, 2012, 2013: Project Grants for Individual Artist from Department of Culture, City of Barrie.

2003-2023: Canadian Who’s Who (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press).

2013: Ontario Arts Council grants 1989-2013: Arts Writers and Writers’ Reserve.

2006: Something About the Author, Vol. 166 (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2006).

2003: Canada Council grant: Creative Writing--Children’s Literature--Emerging.

2000: Finalist, Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Competition.

1999: Second prize, Grain creative non-fiction competition.

1997: Coach of winner.  Heather coached Valerie MacMenemey as Valerie wrote and revised “And the Queen Waved to Me” in one of Heather’s classes at Georgian College.  This story won the first annual Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Competition.

1988:  Winner,  Frank E. Thomas Memorial Award sponsored by Wordwrights Canada for “outstanding non-fiction prose appearing in Cross-Canada Writers’ Magazine.”

1987: Second prize, 1987 international L.F. Brannan Memorial Essay Competition sponsored by the American literary magazine Negative Capability.

1987: First prize, 1987 Barrie Banner Short Story Contest.

1986: Short listed, Great Canadian Novella Competition sponsored by Pottersfield Press.

1973: Recipient, Margaret Nichol Pond Award, James Tupper Fellowship, Canada Council Special M.A. Scholarship.

Professional Memberships

- Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers.

- Writers’ Union of Canada


1989: M.A. York University.  Area of specialization: Canadian literature.

1975: M.A. University of Toronto.  Thesis: “Free Thought for Infant Minds”: British Children’s Literature, 1894-1914.

1973:   B.A.  Dalhousie University. First class honours in English..

Selected Publications--Books

Seeking Peace: The Quakers. Ottawa, ON: Borealis Press, 2017. [272 pages, including 93 illustrations. ISBN 978-0-8888-679-9 (paperback) ISBN 978-0-8888-680-5 (html) ]

Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity.” Ottawa, ON: Borealis Press, 2011. [276 pages. Includes 93 photos. ISBN 978-0-88887-428-3.]

Who Were the Whiteoaks and Where Was Jalna?.  Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 2007. [210 pages.  ISBN 978-1-896133-66-9. Tecumseh is a division of Borealis Press.]

Mazo de la Roche: Rich and Famous Writer. Montreal: XYZ Publishing, 2006. [196 pages. ISBN 10: 1-894852-20-6.  ISBN 13: 978-1-894852-20-3. XYZ Publishing is now owned by the Dundurn Press of Toronto.]

Wacousta. [A retelling of Major John Richardson’s classic novel.]  Ottawa, ON: Winding Trail Press, 2005. [288 pages. ISBN 0-9733632-5-8.] Reissued in 2016 by Borealis Press of Ottawa. [ISBN 978-0-88887-683-6 (paperback)]

A Drop of Rain. Toronto: Napoleon Publishing, 2004.  [232 pages. ISBN 1-894917-10-3. Napoleon Publishing is now owned by Dundurn Press of Toronto.]

Warsaw Spring. Toronto: Napoleon Publishing, 2001.  [247 pages. ISBN 0-929141-86-5. Napoleon Publishing is now owned by Dundurn Press of Toronto.]

Selected Publications--Articles--Scholarly

“The Lundys of Whitchurch as the Whiteoaks of Jalna.”  Essays on Canadian Writing 84 (2009): 228-253.
Canadian Literature

“Caroline Clement: The Hidden Life of Mazo de la Roche’s Collaborator.” Canadian Literature 184 (2005): 46-67.

“No Home or Native Land: How Canadian History Got Left Out of Canadian Historical Fiction for Children.” Canadian Children’s Literature 83, 84 (1996): 8-25.

Canaadian Children's Literature“Will the Real Emily Carr Please Stand Up?” Literary Review of Canada 3.6 (1994): 16, 17.

“Grey Owl as Necessary Myth: A Reading of Pilgrims of the
.” Canadian Children’s Literature 61 (1991): 44-56. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review 32 (1994).     

“Unity with Natural Things: Roderick Haig-Brown as a Writer for Children.” Canadian Children’s Literature 51 (1988): 25-42. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review 31 (1993).            

Wascana Review“The Fairytale Elements in the Early Work of Mazo de la Roche.” Wascana Review 22.1 (1987): 3-17.

Selected Publications--Short Stories

“The Water Closet, the Baby in the Blanket, and the Little White Rose.” Grain 27.2 (1999): 87-101. [Winner of second prize, Long Grain of Truth creative nonfiction competition.]

Grain“The Long White Bones of Hollowed Sight,” “Boy Growler,” “Delicious and Delightful.” Silver Apple Branch 3 (1988): 22, 51-54.

“Stone-feather.” Late Knocking 3.1 (1987): 16-25.

“Janek’s Revolt.” Buzz 4.2 (1987): 14, 15.

“The Story of Albert Schwarzkopf and Madame Breadnoise.” The [Barrie] Banner 30 Dec. 1987: 5, 9, 15. [First prize Banner short story competition.]

“The Strange Maiden.” Late Knocking 2.4 (1986): 2-6. [Trans. “Das fremde Madchen” in Der Spiegel im Brunnen by Oskar Jan Tauschinski (Vienna: Verlag Jungbrunnen, 1974).]

“Down in Florida.” Barrie Banner 31 December 1986: 3. [Second prize, The [Barrie] Banner short story competition.]

Selected Publications--Poems

“Notes on the Death of God.” Dreams vs. Reality. Spec. issue of Cosmic Poetry TorontoTrends Jan.1990: 19.

“Spring Day Rising.” Poetry Toronto 146 (Feb. 1988): 16.

“Fish Poem” and “Wolf Berries.” Canadian Women Studies 8.3 (1987): 12. 

“The Good Man in the Park” and “First Snow in the Old Warsaw Cemetery." Contemporary Verse II  7.4 (1984): 62-64. “First Snow” rpt. Prophetic Voices IX, X (1988): 51.

“Five Red Flowers.” Hejira 3 (1984): 18, 19.

“Warsaw May 1977: A Reverie.” Scrivener 5.2 (1984): 29.  Rpt. Prophetic Voices XI (1989): 27.

“Oswiecim.” Word Loom 2 (1983): 41.  

Selected Publications--Radio Scripts

“National Heritage Site to Be Bulldozed on Canada’s Birthday.” Heather Kirk interviewed by Paul Kennedy. Morningside. CBC Radio, Toronto, 17 and 27 June 1994.

Heritage and On This Day in 1958. [Two daily programs on the history of the Peace River country.] CJXX Radio, Grande Prairie, Alberta, 1981-1983.

Selected Publications--Articles--Magazine, Newspaper, Online, etc.

"Telling Stories about a Storyteller.” Introduction. Ringing the Changes. By Mazo de la Roche. Ed. Michael Gnarowski. Toronto: Dundurn, 2015. 7-33.

"Mazo de la Roche." The Literary Encyclopedia. 28 Jun. 2006.

“The Secret Heart of Gabrielle Roy.” The [Barrie] Banner 11 Dec.1985: 21.  Gabrielle Roy. Library and Archives Canada.

“Getting Artists into Schools.” Growth Spurts 44 (1994): 25.

“Time Running Out for Timeless Site.” Editorial. Barrie Examiner 11 June 1994: 6.

“Performing Tips for Writers.” Canadian Author 69.4 (1994): 11-13.

“What Writers Can Learn from Stephen Leacock.” Canadian Author 69.1 (1993): 7-9.   
“Born, Made, and More.” Growth Spurts 42 (1993): 31.

“Historical Fiction for Children.” Canadian Author & Bookman 67.3 (1992).

“Heritage Under Siege.” Books in Canada Nov. 1992: 22-26.

“Peace River ‘Paradise’ Proves Challenging.” Western People 4 April 1991: 14-16.

“James Reaney: After and Before.” Canadian Author & Bookman 66.4 (1991): 18-20.
“Alice Kane, Storyteller.” Canadian Materials  Nov. 1991: 346-348. Go to

Writer's Magazine“Rediscovering Mazo de la Roche.” Cross-Canada Writers’ Magazine 10.2 (1988): 16, 17. [Winner of  Frank E. Thomas Memorial Award.]

“Anecdotes of Canadian Literary Life.” Cross-Canada Writers’ Magazine 10.1 (1988): 3.  
“On the Trail of the Treasures of Polish Culture.” Negative Capability 8.3 (1988): 202-209. [Winner of  L.W. Brannan Memorial Award.]

“Tom Arnett: Portrait of a Pro.” Cross-Canada Writers’ Quarterly 9.2 (1987): 14, 15, 30.

“Tom Arnett.” Western People 31 July 1986: 8, 9.

“Words, Words.The [Barrie] Banner. Twice monthly column, 1985-1986. [Four columns were later reprinted in national outlets: for example, “The Secret Heart of Gabrielle Roy.”]

“Peace Country Artist: Euphemia McNaught.” Western People 12 Sept. 1983: 8, 9.

“Documenting the Peace Country Past.” Western People 2 June 1983: 12.

“The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books.” Bookbird 13.1 (1976): 29-34.

Selected Publications--Reviews

Rev. of Silver Door by Terry Griggs. Books in Canada June-July 2004: 44

Rev. of Miss Smithers by Susan Juby.  Books in Canada Apr.-May 2004: 40.
“Gender Benders: Forced and Fun.” Canadian Children’s Literature 105-106 (2002): 169, 170. Rev. of Mommy Works, Daddy Works by Marika Pedersen and Mikele Hall, illus. Deirdre Bettridge, and Fairy by David Bouchard, illus. Dean Griffiths.

“Fiction on the Edges of History.” Canadian Children’s Literature 100-101 (2000-2001): 155-157.  Rev. of Laura: a Childhood Tale of Laura Secord by Maxine Trottier, illus. Karen Reczuk, and Storm at Batoche by Maxine Trottier, illus. John Mantha.

“Laura Walks Again.” Canadian Children’s Literature 100-101 (2000-2001): 154, 155. Rev. of  Laura Secord’s Brave Walk by Connie Brummel Crook, illus. June Lawrason.

“Scouting Indian Territory.” Canadian Children’s Literature 89 (1998). Rev. of The Ghost Dance by Alice McLerran, illus. Paul Morin.

Rev. of  Baby’s Hands and Baby’s Feet by Patricia Quinlan, illus. Linda Hendry. Quill & Quire Mar. 1996: 75.

Rev. of  Clouds on the Mountain by Emilie Smith-Ayala, illus. Alice Priestly. Quill &Quire Feb. 1996: 41, 42.

“Getting to the Roots.” Rev. of about six young-adult books. Books in Canada Oct. 1995: 49, 50.

Rev. of A Fine Day for Drool by Sharon Siamon. Quill & Quire Dec. 1994: 34.

“Learning Experiences.” Rev. of YA books. Books in Canada July-Aug. 1993: 30, 31.

“Respecting Their Audience.” Rev. of YA books. Books in Canada Dec. 1993: 57, 58.

“An Exit or Resistance, Rebellion, and Life.” Rev. of The Rose Tree by Mary Walkin Keane.  Canadian Children’s Literature 73 (1993): 70-71.    

“Second Biography Best Used as Appendix to First.” Rev. of From the Land of the Shadows:   The Making of Grey Owl by Donald B. Smith. Canadian Children’s Literature 63 (1991): 110, 111.

The Beaver“A Journey of the Spirit.” Rev. of Challenge of the Homestead
by Clyde Campbell. The Beaver Dec. 1990: 59, 60.

heather kirk, speaker
Heather Kirk Author