About Cathleen

Cathleen With, authorCathleen With completed her Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Her thesis became the short story collection Skids (Arsenal Pulp, 2006), about street kids on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison (winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize), is her first novel, inspired by her years of teaching in the North. Skids, her short story collection about street kids from the Davie Village to the Downtown Eastside was short-listed for the 2007 Relit Award. She was also short-listed for the 2006 Western Magazine Award for her story, “Carny” which was featured in Humanist Perspectives. She has been published in several literary journals, including The Antigonish Review, Grain, and Fireweed.

Among Cathleen’s many adventures, she has worked at a camp for disabled kids and lived for six months in Hawaii and Australia. She served as a drama education volunteer in Kathmandu, a caregiver at Mother Theresa’s Home for the Sick and Destitute in Calcutta, an English teacher to former sex trade kids in Cambodia, and as a teacher in Inuvik, NWT and in Seoul, Korea. While abroad, Cathleen got to see free opera while writing weekender articles for The Korea Herald, and dabbled in writing for an alternative Cambodian ‘zine.

Though her work is fiction, many of the stories in Skids are based on her friends’ voices, some now gone, and her own experiences battling addictions and depression in her youth. Cathleen has also trained as a Learning Assistance, Drama in Education, and English teacher, and enjoys working one on one with alternative youth who have trouble adapting to the public school system. She is currently a part-time adult education teacher in Vancouver.

Her first novel, Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison, is in hardcover, paperback and e-book format with Penguin Group Canada (2009). She is represented by Denise Bukowski of The Bukowski Agency.