Calgary Distinguished Writers Program
Sara Tilley’s work bridges writing, theatre, and Pochinko Clown Through Mask technique, with each discipline informing the others. After graduating with a BFA in Acting from York University in 2001, Sara founded the feminist theatre company She Said Yes! and received the Rhonda Payne Theatre Award in 2006, which acknowledges the contribution of a woman working in theatre in Newfoundland and Labrador. She’s written, co-written, or co-created ten plays, and has had stories, poems, and essays published in various literary magazines and anthologies. Skin Room, her first novel (Pedlar Press, 2008), won both the Newfoundland and Labrador Percy Janes First Novel Award and the inaugural Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers, and was shortlisted for the Winterset Award for Excellence in Newfoundland Writing as well as the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize. Of Skin Room, Shane Nielson wrote “...this debut book is really about one thing: the possibility of prose performance. Sara Tilley has crafted an internally consistent novel that has linguistic pizazz, cuffs language upside the head, achieves poetry without the obliqueness that often clogs the arteries of prose in this country, all without losing sight of delivering a good yarn…I think Sara Tilley might be the next big thing – bona fide – from Newfoundland” (The Fiddlehead).
In 2008, Sara mentored with Pochinko Clown Through Mask co-founder, Ian Wallace, making her one of a handful of Pochinko instructors in the world. She regularly offers Clown through Mask and Neutral Mask training, and has adapted these techniques to inform her writing practice.
Sara also enjoys working as a dramaturg and editor, and has been ‘midwife’ to new works of fiction and playwriting from writers across Canada. She was been Writer-in-Residence at Berton House in Dawson City and at Landfall in Brigus, NL. In 2011, Sara was awarded the Lawrence Jackson Writer’s Award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. She lives in her hometown of St. John’s, NL, with her two cats.