Up To Speed with Faith Fundal

A Winnipeger’s story of trauma, abuse and resilience is a nominee of this year’s best non-fiction Governor General’s Literary Award

Play Episode 5:27

Share Episode

Rowan McCandless rediscovered her voice through writing her debut book, “Persephone’s Children: A Life in Fragments.” She joined Faith Fundal to share the story behind the book.

Aired: Nov. 2, 2022

Oct 16, 2022

LitFest Presents: Masterclass – Playing with Form with Rowan McCandless

Rowan McCandless examines how understanding different creative nonfiction forms can help authors tell stories in the most impactful way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


with Jenny Howe, April 26: @ivereadthisblog’s book column takes a look at race & racism in her book picks which include @RowanMcCandless’s Persephone’s Children @dundurnpress

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Not So Happily Ever After

For generations, little girls have been told tales in which the heroine’s goal was to fall in love and live happily ever after. But what happens when the ending doesn’t live up to the promise of the fairy tale? Sumaiya Matin and Rowan McCandless share their own very personal stories about escaping oppressive and abusive relationships and learning how to define themselves on their own terms.

Hosted by Renata Hall, community advocate and clinician at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Friday, April 22, 2022

Playing with Form with Rowan McCandless

Author and editor Rowan McCandless examines how understanding different creative non-fiction forms can help authors tell difficult, emotional, or complicated stories in the most impactful way. Participants will learn about Diptych, Hermit Crab, Braided, Lyrical and Flash essays and have an opportunity to play with some of these forms in a guided workshop activity.

Saturday, February 26 at 7pm 

Join us for FBCW’s Telling the Truth, an event with non-fiction writers, hosted by Megan Cole. Register here ( and a link will be sent to you. When it’s time for the event, click on the link to join the live Zoom event. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Digital Doors Open at 655pm!

Theresa Kishkan lives on the Sechelt Peninsula with her husband, John Pass, in a house they built and where they raised their 3 children. She has published 14 books, most recently Euclid’s Orchard, a collection of essays about family history, botany, mathematics, and love (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2017), and a novella, The Weight of the Heart (Palimpsest Press, 2020). Her books have been nominated for many awards, including the Hubert Evans Award and the Ethel Wilson Prize. Her interests include textiles, music, and colour theory, woven together in the forthcoming Blue Portugal and Other Essays (University of Alberta Press, 2022).

Rowan McCandless writes from Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral and traditional homeland of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Métis, and Oji-Cree Nations. She is the Creative Nonfiction editor with The Fiddlehead magazine. Her writing has appeared in various journals such as The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, and Prairie Fire, amongst others. Her work has been long listed for the Journey Prize. In 2020, she received gold with the National Magazine Awards. Her debut book, Persephone’s Children, is a memoir about trauma and healing and Rowan’s odyssey as a Black, biracial woman who escaped the stranglehold of domestic abuse.

Megan Cole is a tattooed food enthusiast with an obsessive reading habit. Her writing has appeared in The Puritan, Invisiblog, Kootenay Mountain Culture and more. She’s currently working on her first book titled Head Over Feet: The Lasting Heart Ache of First Loves. When she’s not writing, reading or cooking, she’s working as the director of audience development for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes and recording interviews for the podcast Writing the Coast.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

It was my pleasure to be the moderator for the amazing (Margaret Nowaczyk )as she launched “Chasing Zebras.” It was an honour to interview Margaret and to talk about her fantastic book and writing in general. YAY, Margaret!!!

February 11, 2022

I had a wonderful time doing a Q and A with Tracie Skuce ( We talked about Persephone’s Children and publishing.


November, 2021

CTV Book Chat

Michael D’Alimonte (CTV news reporter) and Jonathan Toews (event coordinator with McNally Robinson Bookseller) discuss three book recommendations. I was thrilled that Persephone’s Children was highlighted in this video clip.

October, 2021

October, 2021

Playing With Form: Experimentations and Writing Creative Nonfiction

Author and editor Rowan McCandless examines how understanding different creative non-fiction forms can help authors tell difficult, emotional, or complicated stories in the most impactful way. Participants will learn about Hermit Crab, Braided, Lyrical, Collage and Decentered Hermit Crab essays and have an opportunity to play with some of these forms in a guided workshop activity.

Tuesday Oct 12 2021 7:00 pm – Grant Park in the Atrium, Streaming on YouTube, Winnipeg

Persephone’s Children Book Launch

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Rowan McCandless’s Persephone’s Children (Dundurn Press). Presented as part of Thin Air 2021: The WINNIPEG INTERNATIONAL WRITER’S FESTIVAL and featuring a conversation hosted by Whitney French.

The launch will be hosted live in the Atrium of McNally Robinson Booksellers, Grant Park and also available as a simultaneous YOUTUBE stream. The video will be available for viewing thereafter. Before arriving, please review details of how to attend physical events here at the store

After years of secrecy and silence, Rowan McCandless leaves an abusive relationship and rediscovers her voice and identity through writing.

She was never to lie to him. She was never to leave him; and she was never supposed to tell. Persephone’s Children chronicles Rowan McCandless’s odyssey as a Black, biracial woman escaping the stranglehold of a long-term abusive relationship. Through a series of thematically linked and structurally inventive essays, McCandless explores the fraught and fragmented relationship between memory and trauma. Multiple mythologies emerge to bind legacy and loss, motherhood and daughterhood, racism and intergenerational trauma, mental illness and resiliency. It is only in the aftermath that she can begin to see the patterns in her history, hear the echoes of oppression passed down from unknown, unnamed ancestors, and discover her worth and right to exist in the world.

Rowan McCandless is an award-winning author of fiction and creative non-fiction, and serves as the creative non-fiction editor for The Fiddlehead. She has been long-listed for the Journey Prize, won the Constance Rooke Creative Non-Fiction Prize, and received gold for One of a Kind Storytelling at the National Magazine Awards. Rowan lives in Winnipeg.

Host Whitney French is a storyteller and a multi-disciplinary artist. She is the editor of the award-winning anthology as well as the co-founder of the Black queer feminist press Hush Harbour. Whitney French is the editor of Persephone’s Children. She lives in Toronto.


#5OnFri: Five Questions for an Award-Winning Creative Non-Fiction Writer by Nicole Breit

DIY-MFA published June 16, 2017, in writing

“Once I started pushing the boundaries of linear storytelling my personal essays were much stronger. They began to find literary homes and win awards. It’s been the case, too, for my student, Rowan Smith-McCandless, who recently won Room magazine’s 2017 CNF contest for her stellar hermit crab essay, “A Map of the World”.

Check out Rowan’s answers to 5 questions I asked about her discoveries exploring CNF for the first time in my course, and the genre’s more experimental forms.”