Author Archives: soddleif

Short story contest winners 2023

Alison Braid Woodhaven Residency

Alison Braid of Summerland, took first place at the 25th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest for her short story “Two Day Summer”.

At an event held in April of 2023, contest judge Corrina Chong had this to say about Alison’s work: “Upon reading the very first sentence of “Two Day Summer,” I knew I was in the hands of an expert. Every sentence of this story is beautifully crafted, the characters are richly drawn, and the conflict is layered with delicate precision.”

As part of the top prize, we offer a one-week retreat at The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre. Alison stayed at Woodhaven in the studio suite for a week in July of 2023, and said that she loved the tranquility of the area and the dedicated time away from distractions to work.

“Having the beautiful window was the highlight of my stay. I wrote most days on the bench, looking out at the trees,” she added.

Braid also said that she can see herself coming back to the studio for more time to work uninterrupted.

“Thank you for such a wonderful experience. I think it’s an incredible bonus to have as a prize along with the cash award – making space and time for your work is so difficult, and Woodhaven did exactly that.”

Read the intro to the story, The Young Boxer , that Braid started writing while at the Woodhaven retreat.

Alison Braid’s work has been shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year Contest, and The Bridport Prize in Flash Fiction. She is the author of the chapbook Little Hunches (Anstruther Press, 2020.) She holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is currently working to finish a collection of short stories, titled Look Both Ways & Other Stories.

(image: Left to right: Jason (Darian Detta’s brother who accepted the award on his behalf), Kristen Burns, Alison Braid, and Corinna Chong. Not pictured: Madeleine van Goudoever)

Another productive, restorative residency

Nicola Harwood spent another two weeks at the Woodhaven Culture Centre. Nicola shared some words below about the time she spent working on her artistic practice; see below.

Another productive, restorative residency at Woodhaven Eco Cultural centre.

This year I made a point of connecting with some of the humans (rather than just the deer and quail!) who support the centre and the land conservancy next door. I attended a wildflower walk with Nancy Holmes in the conservancy and got know the history of the land, plans for the future and to meet several neighbours and women who help to steer the Conservancy Society.

On our walk we noted wild Blue Clematis, tiny White Blessings and lots of Oregon Grape in bloom. We also discussed the dying cedar in the forest and the issue of ground water management that badly needs to be addressed in order for the forest to stay healthy. It is heartening to see the care these folks put into the land and also worrisome that these trees are leaving us. I hope very much that the Regional District of the Okanagan and the City of Kelowna listen to these caregivers and start to strategize about how to make sure the groundwater, which is there, but being culverted and so unavailable to the trees, is brought back. I really hope the neighbours also get involved as I noticed that most of the cedars in the neighbourhood, not just in the forest, are dying due to this ground water engineering issue.

Thanks to UBCO and all the people who surround this residency with love and support. It continues to be an unmatched treasure in the valley. So necessary for the animals, birds, insects, plants and their strange companions, us artists and writers.

Some of the work I created there, working in monoprint.

View Nicola’s residency post from her previous time at Woodhaven in 2022. Find out more about Nicola Harwood:

Annie Furman Woodhaven Residency

Annie Furman

Annie Furman

As part of an MFA graduate course, professor Nancy Holmes offered all of the first-year MFA students a weekend residency at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre this year.

First year MFA student Annie Furman spent a long-weekend at Woodhaven in February of 2023. She is pursuing her MFA with a specialization in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on performing arts and sustainability. Annie shared a bit about her creative practice, and her time spent at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre.

Tell us a bit about your creative practice

Prior to moving to Kelowna for grad school, I worked as an environmental educator in New York’s Adirondack State Park and managed a remote lodge in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, and my time in those environments really helped shape my creative/research interests into what I’m working on now at UBCO, which is how local interspecies interactions facilitate community knowledge mobilization and climate solutions education—and how those interactions can be represented through the theatre as a means of community engagement.

What did you do during your time at Woodhaven

I’d been to Woodhaven previously for a couple FCCS and FEELed Lab programs that were very enjoyable and relevant to my work, so I was very happy to have the opportunity to spend some more time at Woodhaven. I’d intended to spend some time getting to know Woodhaven Regional Park better. My creative process usually starts with a hike (or a hack, if I’m on horseback), and the prospect of spending time in the park was something I was very much looking forward to over the weekend. The cougar in the area had other ideas, however, so due to recent sightings and suspected cougar kittens, I went with my contingency plan instead—lots of editing!

How did this residency benefit your writing and art practice

The atmosphere of Woodhaven is wonderfully relaxing. The natural light through the windows, the gurgle of Bellevue Creek outside, the great horned owls hooting at night—it’s my favorite writing soundtrack. As a grad student, my days frequently feel quite cluttered between classes, meetings, and travel to campus. Being at Woodhaven felt like taking a deep breath of fresh air.

Tell us what you learnt about yourself or your practice while you were there

I moved to Kelowna last August from a town with a population of about 500 people. The quiet of Woodhaven made me realize how much I miss creating in non-urban environments. It feels reassuring to know that there’s a space like Woodhaven so close to campus and downtown, where you can slip out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a moment.

What did you accomplish during your time at Woodhaven

I know I said I’m a performing arts person, but with the cougar limiting my time outside, I actually ended up editing several speculative fiction/solarpunk short stories I’ve been working on lately. I’ve been dabbling more in different forms of creative writing after taking a class with Chantal Bilodeau last term on creative writing for community engagement with the climate crisis, so this was a great opportunity to continue with some of that writing.

Woodhaven Riverbed

Photo that Annie took during her time at Woodhaven of the creek bed along the pathway.

Nicola Harwood Woodhaven Residency

Nicola Harwood

Artist and writer Nicola Harwood had the opportunity to spend time in the studio apartment at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre, giving uninterrupted time to work on her writing and artistic practice. Harwood is an interdisciplinary artist with a background in theatre and performance, particularly collaborative creation, feminist work and community engaged practice.

Harwood, who is originally from Kelowna,  grew up close by Woodhaven on Dehart Rd. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She has been invited to UBC Okanagan in the past by FCCS professors offering an artist talk in an English class with Jodey Castricano, and was a guest on Michael V. Smith’s Soundtrack series in 2021.

“I like to come to Kelowna to see family and connect with artist colleagues from UBCO. Woodhaven is so precious as the sprawl engulfs the wild in the valley,” she says.

During her time here from June 25 to July 9, she created this large drawing in the detached studio on the property, pictured below.

Harwood says that she found the art studio cabin was very inspiring, adding that the light was beautiful as was being able to sit and watch the horses when she took a break.

“Walking from the apt/studio to my work studio with a coffee and knowing I had hours of quiet in this spectacular and precious place to work. I felt instantly inspired when I arrived and found working on both my writing and visual practice very satisfying and productive.”

Nicola Harwood’s drawing in the detached studio at Woodhaven, “It is true, it is true, it is true”, soft pastel, 2022

detail, “It is true, it is true, it is true”, soft pastel, 2022

Find out more about Nicola Harwood:

Woodhaven Fantasies

April 25th, 2020 

Woodhaven fairy tale

“7 deer and a self-isolated girl… The quarantine made us Disney princesses haha–Snow White and Rapunzel. ” My friend said.


April 17th, 2020

It was like a fire of hope, burning me from inside out.

See? Sometimes hope hurts.

Woodhaven Encounters

Alison Trim is a visual artist from Ireland, and MFA student at UBCO. During her residency at Woodhaven from September 2018 until May 2019 she regularly posted images, encounters and experiences from this particular patch of land. She has now returned for a second year at Woodhaven, continuing her record of sharing this space with nature.  

02/14/2020 Candy colours

As the days lengthen last years berry crop is still full of colours

17/01/2020 The Cold Continues

and curtains of icicles festoon the house.

31/12/2019 Happy New Year

Seeing out the old year at Woodhaven with a healthy dollop of snow

01/12/2019 Baby it’s cold outside

27/11/2019 November update 


November has been a busy month with not much time for blog posts. This beautiful deer that posed so picturesquely, and a squirrel keeping himself fed outside my window are a couple of the highlights to share.

29/10/2019 Forest floor fungi

Keep your eyes down low…

14/10/2019 Each has its own story to tell


02/10/2019 Day of the Triffids


Remember that book (or the movie)? Well that’s what the armies of dead, or dying mullein on the creek bank made me think of when I walked among them today.

25/09/2019 Round 2

A year from when I first arrived and I’m back at Woodhaven. It’s been a busy first few weeks, both on campus and amongst the wildlife here. I’ve only been back three weeks and we’ve already had a bear and a coyote pass through, the usual deer of course, and lots of birdlife. Here is the Great Horned Owl who has been around a lot, and turkey vultures who were making the most of a deer carcass left behind by someone else.

28/05/2019 Growing and Leaving

In two days time my residency here comes to an end, I’d like to thank Nancy, Wendy and UBCO for allowing me to spend time here, and leave you with some pictures of the amazing growth taking place right now, fungi sprouting, babies being born and the creek in full flow. Good to know it will all continue to do it’s thing quite well without me. On to the next adventure……

(PS. if you want to see photos of the next adventure then you can follow me on Instagram)

15/05/2019 The Greening of May

After two weeks away, coming back to Woodhaven the intensity of green is only matched by the fresh smell of the trees and the grass, which unfortunately photos cannot convey.

21/04/2019 Overhead

Spotted this hawk flying over Woodhaven yesterday, it seems to have an antennae attached, visible on the larger file, presumably for radio tracking of some kind.

12/04/2019 Spring is in flow 


The smaller creek bed, dry all winter, has slowly filled and the water level has crept its way down past the house, to ease the flow of the main Bellevue creek alongside it. This renewed flow of water represents spring as much as the green grass, the buds on trees and the flowers starting to appear.

03/04/2019 Critical studies comes to Woodhaven

I was delighted to have my Graduate Colloquium class come down to Woodhaven this past Monday, where members of the class, including myself, gave presentations on our thesis research to our classmates and some other faculty members who made it along too. I had dragged everyone out so far from campus to talk about my work in the setting that inspires it.

30/03/2019 Waking up 

This yellow bellied marmot has decided its warm enough now to stop hibernating and start in on his hectic schedule of sunbathing on the rocks every morning.

24/03/2019 Bush detective

This morning I followed a line of fur on the ground. Which led me to a pile of fur beneath a tree. Someone’s buried leftover breakfast. As they may be coming back to finish off this meal,  I think we’d better stay cautious.

21/03/2019 A casualty of winter

So, you remember this beautiful hornets nest from last autumn?


It didn’t make it through the winter so well….

06/03/2019 Morning Visitors

The wonderful thing about living at Woodhaven is that you never know who’s going to wander past the window when you’re washing up the breakfast things. Last week it was a raccoon without a tail (no photos I’m afraid) this week its these two very pretty looking coyotes.

25/02/2019 Woodhaven artwork at UBCO campus


So far. And yet, so very nearly…. bark rubbing and pencil on cut paper, is the work resulting from the rubbing of a ponderosa here at Woodhaven that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. It’s currently on show in the Fina gallery at the CCS building up at UBCO campus in an exhibition called Making Senses, until 1 March.

06/02/2019 It’s chilly out there

05/02/2019 More collaborating with the ponderosa pine tree

Developing rubbing/collaborative drawings further, with one of my favourite Ponderosas on the land here at Woodhaven. Thanks to Paul Barnes for the photographs.

16/01/2019 New Year, New Semester

Trying out some collaborative drawing practices with a lovely big obliging Ponderosa


23/12/2018 Happy Christmas from Woodhaven

Finding traces of the Raccoon family who pass by the creek unseen.

09/12/2018 As the slowing and freezing begins

The creek is still running for now, but the icy shards are growing each night, and the shapes changing and evolving.

05/12/2018 Standing on the shoulders of…

29/11/2018 More school visitors 

Lines everywhere, in all directions, more children at play.

11/11/2018 School visitors

Last week, in absolutely pouring rain, a group of school children came on a visit to Woodhaven. I stayed inside in the dry and warm. A few days later I found traces of their visit among the trees. I don’t know which school they came from but I have to admire their persistence, and their refusal to let the rain ruin their day out.

03/11/2018 November

The path of the seasons is turning a corner and, with the rain, almost all the leaves are now fallen and the creek flows faster and louder.

24/10/2018 Seedheads

The beautiful October sunshine picks out every fine hair on its head.

21/10/18 The gold is gathering 

And everywhere I looked it was all yellow.

14/10/18 When things are looking up


With blue skies and on bright days the trees seem to stand a little taller. Their lines stretch up towards the sun, and draw us up along with them.

06/10/18 Home

Suspended amongst the yellowing leaves, the cloudlike form of a wasps nest creates swirling lines around the dark hole that serves as their doorway.

29/09/18 Tracing lines in the sky

I could watch, mesmerised, for hours while a hawk traces out his route, around and around in the blue clearing above. But he has other places to be.

26/09/18 A moment

A moment of focus and a moment of belonging. When all your senses are alert, your awareness is heightened and everything is suspended in that gaze. For just a moment.

23/09/18 Hieroglyphics?

Getting very excited by some carpenter ant trails found in an old bench. What are the ants trying to say? This is exactly what being an artist is for me sometimes.

21/09/18 A Richness of Surface

19/09/18 Looking down from the deck

She’s looking right back up at me.

12/09/18 First Explorations

Past the bike shed and the garden shed, follow the trail to the woodshed,
past the plank crossing the dry creek bed, and round to the left.
The trail gets less clear, under the shrub, the remains of something on the ground.
On through the brush keeping right of the bendy tree, back onto a clearer path.
Then left, past the dripping tree and round to the back of the studio.
Onto the driveway where I meet momma deer and her spotty young one.
Carry on to the right of the house and follow the dry creek past curtains of dead branches.
Turn left at the fallen tree and stop to talk to a squirrel.
Climb across stony ground to the bank of the creek and follow it upstream, to home.

Alison Trim is a visual artist from Ireland, and MFA student at UBCO. During her residency at Woodhaven from September 2018 until April 2019 she will be regularly posting images, encounters and experiences from this particular patch of land.

Poster Archive


theresa kishkan PNGTheresa Kishkan, Aug.21st 2015
Thistledown PNGThistledown Press Night, August 14th, 2015.

Coming August 7th at 7pm!

Sarah de Leeuw: August 7th. 2015

Beat Salad 2015Beat Salad July 10th, 2015— the perfect poetry apotheosis!
Jeff Latosik PNG

Jeff Latosik, music by Darian Saunders and Syren and the Waves, June 19th, 2015
fred stenson

Fred Stenson, music by Birds of Cray, June 12th, 2015

Slide1Joanne Arnott and Nicola Campbell, June 5th, 2015.


May 28th, 8pmGothic Fiction with Dania Tomlinson. May 28th, 2015.


Russell Thornton poster

Russell Thornton, May 15th, 2015.



Daniella Roze event posterDaniella Roze “Living Wild in the Stone Age” presentation, June 12 2014

BEAT salad“Beat Salad” live poetry and a 100-mile potluck, featuring performance poet Ali Riley and musical guest Rhoneil (and more), June 18 2014

Woodhaven Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice Concert – with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Karen Donaldson Shepherd, and featuring Canadian folk-blues legend Herald Nix, June 21 2014

Body of the Land June 29, 2014 (with banner)A workshop by Woodhaven artist in residence Joanne Salé and UBCO alumnus Lorna Tureski — “Exploring connection to the land, using multiple forms” — June 29 2014

Woodshed Readings July 11The Woodshed Readings special guests Aaron Peck and Jason Dewinetz, Friday July 11 2014

Aug 13 poster jpegWednesday August 13, 2014, featuring Megan Hunter, Brianna Ferguson, Natalie Rice, Nancy Holmes, and musical guest Natalie Ingram.

FCCS_LivingWildPos_3rdPR-page-0012014 workshop series with environmental educator Daniella Roze. Friday Aug. 15 Living Wild in the Stone Age presentation; Saturday Aug. 16 Wild Plants: Health and Nourishment workshop; Sunday Aug. 17 Cedar Bark Basket Weaving workshop.

LaurieMacFayden poster finalFriday August 22, 2014, Woodhaven artist-in-residence poet and painter Laurie MacFayden will read from her new book Kissing Keeps Us Afloat. Musical guest Karen Donaldson Shepherd.

Aug 27 poster jpeg


Wednesday, August 27, 2014. The Woodshed Readings season finale featuring Matt Rader, Laisha Rosnau, Kelly Shepherd and Michael V. Smith. Musical guest Darian Soulsamurai Saunders.


Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre

The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre is located in Kelowna, British Columbia, on 8 wooded acres along a vital wildland corridor along Bellevue Creek which flows down from Myra Bellevue Provincial Park.

The Centre, managed by The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, has a small studio apartment for short-term visits by artists and scholars (usually no more than one or two weeks) as well as two other apartments for graduate students.  During the summer months, the Eco Culture Centre is used for art events, residencies, workshops, intensives and classes.   During the university term, graduate student residents live in the Main House.

See Map:

For information on costs to rent the Main House apartments during May – August, please contact Nancy Holmes at


Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre

The newly-named Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre, a former residential acreage property, features a three-suite apartment house to provide temporary lodgings for visiting artists and graduate students. Outbuildings serve as studio and workshop space, and storage. A forested area encompasses the property, replete with a seasonal stream carrying spring runoff from the nearby Bellevue Creek, along with pathways and rustic, natural vistas.









FCCS Dean, Wisdom Tettey at the opening of the Woodhaven Eco Centre







FCCS Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Nancy Holmes at the opening at the Woodhaven Eco Centre