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“Writing is like strolling though the changing seasons of a Canadian garden. You never know when you’ll stumble across autumn’s death, a leaf fallen from an elm tree or discover spring’s life, an orange crocus buried in the snow. The key is to learn something from the experience and move on.” –Debbie Okun Hill

Debbie Okun Hill is a Canadian Federation of Poets' member and a new award winning poet/fiction writer; who finally found the courage to focus on her creative writing full-time after working in the corporate world and staying home to raise a family.

Born, educated, and raised in the humble setting of the Canadian prairies, she spent most of her free time immersed in books. In high school, she edited her school newspaper and yearbook and promised herself that one day she would write a novel. She’s a graduate of a two-year Creative Communications diploma from Red River Community College majoring in advertising, public relations and the theatre; and later completed her Bachelor of Arts (General Studies) with extra courses in business from Lakehead University. Several decades later and only just recently, she completed five extra college courses in Creative Writing and Poetry.

Earlier in her writing career, she worked as a reporter for several rural newspapers and was a former public relations specialist with The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Lakehead University, and Fanshawe College where she interviewed and met a variety of people.

As a freelance writer, her non-fiction work has appeared in several inspirational anthologies including Life is Incredible, 2003 edited by Geraldine V. Lightfoot and the forthcoming book Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, 2006. She has written articles for local and national magazines and newspapers.

Two of her short stories have received honourable mention in national and provincial competitions: one from the Canadian Writer’s Journal (Choice Works 9), the other from the Niagara Branch of the Canadian Author’s Association (Ten Stories High Volume 6).

Her poems have won awards from The Ontario Poetry Society (1st place in the Haiku Category of “No Matter What Shape Your Poem’s In”, 2005 and 5th place in the “Simply Good Poetry Contest”, 2005 to name a few) and have appeared in Quills and in anthologies such as The Saving Bannister, Vol. 19; The Writes of Freedom; Unlocking the Muse; Ascent Aspirations Magazine Anthology One; and the soon to be released The Future Looks Bright.

Debbie admits she still has so much to learn. She’s currently working on her first poetry chapbook and a collection of short stories and is one of three poets/storytellers hosting a monthly Spoken Word event in southwestern Ontario. She is an avid gardener and prefers to write during those starlit hours when the muse visits her rural home. None of this would be possible without the support from her amazing husband, daughter, cherished dog, and friends.

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