Margaret Macpherson, manuscript evaluations, critiques, review, alberta, edmonton

“The writing life involves a long apprenticeship, but what an amazing vocation. It takes you outside yourself and yet allows a delicate exploration of that which really matter.” MM

Margaret Macpherson is a teacher, a poet, and an award-winning author.

Margaret’s move to Third Verb marks her transition into a supporting role to both emerging and established writers, something she has always done in the literary community but never with such intention.


Margaret started as a campus reporter in the early 80’s and her very first interview was with Mavis Gallant, Canada’s exiled short story writer fresh from Paris.

Her English Literature degree (and the Psychology minor, great bonus when analyzing character’s motivation) won her a locum at CBC Northern Services in her old hometown following the sudden death of her beloved, Shakespeare-Milton-Blake quoting father. 

  • BA (English Literature/Psychology) UNB (1983)
  • MFA (Creative Writing) UBC (1995)
  • Expressive Arts Practitioner (ongoing)

A boy on the East coast stole Margaret’s heart, however, and back across the country she traveled, hitchhiking with her younger brother. Their sign — “We’d pick you up,” — got them door-to-door in record time. On these trips Margaret worked up a thousand and one rhymes and ditties, iambic pentameter, she can still conjure on a dime. 

The Maritimes, including a full-time four-year journalism job in exotic Bermuda — was piecework and peace work.  

Mid-Ocean News, BDA   |   Atlantic Insight   |   MacLean’s Magazine (stringer)   |   Business writer   |   Red Herring Co-op books (staff)   |   Copywriter


In the early 90’s following her MFA, Margaret began pursuing her first love, long narrative prose. She subsequently published four non-fiction books while working as a Journalism/creative writing instructor at King’s College and Theatre Editor at the now-defunct See Magazine in Edmonton. 




Outlaws of the Canadian West(Lone Pine, 1999)



Outlaws and Lawmen of the West(Lone Pine, 2000)



Silk, Spices and Glory: In Search of the Northwest Passage (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2003)



Nellie McClung: Voices for the Voiceless(Dundurn, 2004)

Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award Winner

Winning the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award for Nellie, and watching the “bandit books” sell thousands, convinced Margaret to give up her day job and devote her time to literary fiction.

Literary Fiction…


Perilous Departures(2004)



Released (2007)

Manitoba Book Award Winner, Relit nominee


Body Trade (2011)

DeBeers NorthWords Prize 

Because novels take so long to craft, Margaret continues to write and publish poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction work. She has been published in the Globe & Mail, Grain Magazine, and has new work coming out in some forthcoming anthologies.

It’s not an all-work-no-play situation, either.  Margaret believes the act of writing can dance across genre. That is why she has been involved endeavours such as the Vancouver PlayRites Festival, the CBC Poetry Face-off, and Story Slam and Slam-Off events. She’s taken part in the creation of original music with Juba superstar Kelly Collins and has a forthcoming production in the 2017 Edmonton Fringe Festival.



  • Writers Guild of Alberta James Grey Award for short non-fiction (2013)
  • Jon Whyte Essay prize (winner or nominee four times)
  • DeBeers NorthWords Prize for her novel, Body Trade (2011) 
  • Manitoba Book Award for her novel, Released (2007), Relit nominee
  • Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award for her book, Nellie



Other Voices (Fiction editor)   |   NeWest Review (contributing)   |   Prism International (Fiction editor)   |   Metro Continuing Education (classes in short story, essay writing   |   U of A Faculty of Extension (Women and Words)   |   Young Alberta Book Society Tours   |   Fictionistas Across Canada Tours (2008/ 2012)

Margaret also continues to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to Edmonton’s literary community. She believes it is as important to nurture up-and-coming writers as it is to put the pen to the page.

Writers Guild of Alberta apprenticeship program mentor   |   Writer in Residence Metro Libraries Federation (EPL)   |   Writer in Residence CAA   |   Writers Union of Canada regional rep   |   CAA membership/vice president/president   |   Saskatchewan Arts Board Jury member   |   AFA jury member

Margaret will continue to conduct her transformative multi-medium expressive arts workshop, Mucking About, throughout the 2016/17 season and act as the Artistic Director for the fourth annual ArtSpirit Festival while she finishes her third novel and eighth book, Caribou Queen

Partnering with Third Verb allows Margaret to do what she loves almost as much as writing: confidently assisting writers to bring their best efforts to the page.


Third Verb presents intensive workshop experiences for writers of all skill levels in the Edmonton area.
Email: info@thirdverb.com
Edmonton, Alberta