Loranne Brown has worked in almost every form of creative writing. Her first novel, The Handless Maiden, was published by Doubleday Canada in 1998 and was short-listed for a number of awards. For her BA, she specialized in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, at the University of Toronto and obtained graduate-level credits in editing and technical writing at Harvard. Firmly committed to life-long learning, she completed her MFA in creative writing (fiction and nonfiction) at Pacific University near Portland, Oregon, in January 2011. Her creative thesis—a novel entitled After the Fact of Fire—is based on the 1989 crash of Air Ontario Flight 1363 near Dryden, Ontario.
Loranne's career hasn't followed a traditional academic or scholarly path: she is a professional writer who also teaches. For many years, she worked as a legal assistant in Bermuda, where she co-authored a manual to accompany customized law revision software and trained lawyers and legal assistants to use it. In Bermuda, she was a journalist and weekly columnist; in Canada, she has written for the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun and other publications. She is a keen editor who finds it particularly rewarding to help steer book-length material to publication.
She has a long association with the Federation of BC Writers (past President and Executive Director) and with Surrey Continuing Education, where she taught creative writing. Since 2001, she has taught in the Professional Writing stream at TWU, offering mostly upper level classes in editing, feature writing, technical writing, and creative nonfiction.
Research & Scholarship
Recently, Loranne helped develop a specialized curriculum for first year communications majors in research and writing. Her upper level students come alive when they discover, mostly in their senior year, the intimate potential of reading and writing; her goal with this introductory course (COMM 110) is to spark that flame with freshman students, to engage them intellectually, emotionally, and professionally, and to prepare them to write effective papers within their major.
Over the years, she has designed popular new upper level courses within the COMM department (including editing and feature writing). Her personal narrative/creative nonfiction class (COMM 414) has become a favorite among majors and non-majors alike and was recommended by Mars Hill as a course all freshman should take with her at some point in their TWU careers. Loranne particularly enjoys directed studies. The opportunity to mentor young writers one-on-one through a project with which they are passionately engaged is very fulfilling.
Loranne brings fresh ideas from workshops, readings and lectures with mentors and peers at Pacific University. The cross-genre pollination in fiction, nonfiction and poetry feeds her creative work, her imagination, and her teaching.
Since publishing The Handless Maiden in 1998, Loranne has completed two novels (Random Acts of Madness, and Blind Judgment) and is seeking publication for them. Two others (After the Fact of Fire and Two Truths and a Lie) are works in progress. Each of these (rather hefty volumes!) requires extensive interdisciplinary research. Blind Judgment, for example, has required her to become familiar with Ojibwe language and lore and, by extension, North American Indigenous literature - in addition to restorative justice, the bioethics of reproductive technologies, and the neuroscience of mystical experience, to name a few.
Her other scholarly pursuits include assembling materials, samples and exercises for a potential anthology/textbook in creative nonfiction, with a Canadian focus; and compiling a guide to developing voice in fiction and nonfiction, entitled "The Trusted Other," based on a series of seminars she's offered over the years.
- Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Fiction), 2011
Forest Grove, Oregon
- Graduate level credits in Editing and Technical Writing, 1982
- Bachelor of Arts (English specialist), 1978
St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto
Awards & Honors
- 2000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (long list)
- 2000 Women of Excellence Award, Langley, BC (nominated)
- 1999 Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award (finalist)
- 1999 BC Book Awards Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (finalist)
- 1999 Literary Writes Competition (3rd prize short fiction “Through Your Hands”)
- 1996 BC Festival of the Arts (Award of Special Recognition short fiction “Repetitive Tasks”)
- 1996 Writers Union of Canada Competition (short fiction “Repetitive Tasks”), finalist
- 1996 Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference (short fiction “Some Trick of Light”), finalist
- The Handless Maiden. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1998, 417 pp.
- Blind Judgment (completed 2008; seeking publication)
- Random Acts of Madness (completed 2006; seeking publication)
- After the Fact of Fire (novel in progress)
- Two Truths and a Lie (novel in progress)
- “Waxwing”, Dec 2009/Jan 2010 edition, This Great Society e-zine.
- “Cycles of Loss”, anthologized in The Fed Anthology: Brand New Fiction and Poetry from the Federation of BC Writers. Susan Musgrave, ed. Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2003.
- Edgewise ElectoLit Center On-line Magazine, Summer 1998 issue
- “Icarus Grounded”
- “Inspiring Change” Trinity Western Magazine, Issue 19, Fall 2010 (archive available at: http://twu.ca/sites/magazine/no-19/features/default.html )
- “Degrees of Separation” Trinity Western Magazine, Issue 5, Fall 2002
- “The Sorcerer’s Agenda: Thoughts on Writing and Issue-driven Fiction.” Presented to Verge Art Series Conference, May 2007, Trinity Western University.
The Globe and Mail
- “A Calamitous Paradise”, review of The Garden of Eden, by Sharon Butala, Sept. 5, 1998
- “Babes in the Rain Forest”, review of Drink the Sky, by Lesley Krueger, April 17, 1999
- “Rubbernecking at life’s disasters”, review of The Devil Out There, by Julie Keith, July 1, 2000
- Review of The Final Confession of Mabel Stark by Robert Hough, July 2001
The Vancouver Sun
- “Imagination in Full Flight”, review of Leaving Earth, by Helen Humphreys, August 30, 1997
- “Love is a Talkative Passion”, review of The Lovers’ Companion, ed. by Elizabeth Jane Howard and The Book of Love, edited by Diane Ackerman and Jeanne Mackin
- Review of Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe by Sandra Gulland, September 1998
- “Chronicles of Time and Place”, reviews of A Good House, by Bonnie Burnard and A History of Forgetting by Caroline Adderson, November 6, 1999
Two Chairs Magazine, Vancouver, B.C.
- Review of The White Bone, by Barbara Gowdy, October 1998
- Review of The Worlds Within Her by Neil Bissoondath, December 1998
- Evoking Change, by Anna Christie. Published October 2008. Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews, June 2007.
- The Outpost FPSPA newsletter, Spring and Fall 2006
- Shore Lines: Anthology of the North Shore Writers’ Association, North Vancouver, BC, Fall 2000
- Numerous freelance documents and publications.
Affiliations & Memberships
- Member, National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) 2007-present
- Member, Conference for College Composition and Communication (CCCC) 2007-present
- Member, Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) 2005-present
- Executive Director, Federation of BC Writers (2001)
- President, Federation of BC Writers (2000)
- Secretary, Federation of BC Writers (1999)
- Member, Editorial Board, Wordworks, Federation of BC Writers 1998 - 2001
- Judge, Cecilia Lamont Literary Contest, South Surrey, BC (1998)
As a teacher and mentor, Loranne feels privileged to be admitted into the locked, secret rooms of her students' lives. In class and out, she has shared their joys, but has also been entrusted with their fears and pain. "My collaborative-style classes have become a kind of sanctuary where," she believes, "we all feel equally blessed to share each other's trust, empathy, and respect."
- COMM 110 Research and Writing for Communication
- COMM 310 Technical Writing
- COMM 414 Nonfiction Seminar (Personal Narrative: memoir, travel writing, personal essays, etc.)
- COMM 415 Editing for Newspapers and Magazines
- COMM 470 Feature Writing for Newspapers and Magazines
"I consider myself, foremost, a mentor," Loranne says. "My students are not vessels to be filled with knowledge. Rather, my job is to help them discover their own areas of creativity and competence. To ignite their curiosity to know more and assist them to research those areas. And to learn from them as much as they might learn from me."
In her upper level classes, her students:
- engage in active discussion of the assigned readings;
- lead discussion on a reading of their choice from an anthology;
- peer critique drafts of work in progress on a constant rotating basis;
- respond to writing prompts in-class;
- submit a final portfolio of polished work at the end of the semester
Outside of class, her writing students post their reading responses and drafts weekly to a class weblog (most of them have actually read and thought about the assigned readings before class) and respond to a minimum of two blog posts per week (by which they read and enter into dialogue with each other's work). In so doing, they write personal critical essays weekly - some as much as 1200 words or more!
Can creative writing be taught? "Most humans share the desire for self-expression," she says. "Provide students with models of excellent writing, prompts to unleash their creativity, a safe environment in which to share, critique, and learn - and most of them will catch fire. One need not be a born writer to develop craft. Self-discipline and hard work are better indicators of success than any so-called innate genius."