Editor's Note: This marks the beginning of a new series written by Jennifer Lavallee about inspiring women in Edmonton! Besides introducing you to these lovely ladies, Jennifer is putting her own twist on The Noteworthy's typical format, asking them to finish the sentence, "What if..." Enjoy!
Jessica Kluthe is a steward of words. Grabbing a table at Remedy Cafe on Jasper Avenue, with lattes in hand, our conversation immediately turns to writing and what it’s like, for someone in Edmonton, to be a professional crafter-of-words. As a successful novelist, writing instructor, and twitter aficionado, she has something to say on the subject.
“Being a writer in Edmonton? Well, it’s a good place to be,” says Jessica, who describes the city and her colleagues here as high yielding when it comes to uncovering opportunities and providing support. She credits twitter for helping her connect with other local authors who, she says, were encouraging to her when she was a new writer in the city. Reflecting back she remarks, “I definitely would not be where I am without [social media] and those connections.”
Three years ago, at age 27, the University of Victoria graduate, who completed her Masters in Writing, specializing in Creative Non-fiction (a spot reserved for only one student per year), published her book, Rosina the Midwife. The endeavour earned her a spot at the top of Edmonton’s best seller list for weeks and prompted Avenue Magazine to name her a Top 40 under 40.
When talking about being a writer, Jessica says “when I decide I want to do something I just go for it, even if that means putting myself out there and potentially facing public embarrassment.”
Later on, with coffee in hand, she muses “you need to though, you have to keep writing,” driving home the point a writer’s gotta write; it’s a skill, she maintains, that needs to be exercised like anything else in which you want to find success. Taking her own advice, Jessica is currently working on a new book (for young adults) but has also been writing smaller pieces for literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. Her latest work appears in a published collection of food-themed essays called ‘Nomfiction.'
When she’s not writing, Jessica is busy teaching others how to find success in the profession. As an instructor at Grant MacEwan University, she teaches courses on creative non-fiction, writing and publishing, and advanced business writing. If you watch closely, you may even see her face smiling back at you on a few of the university’s billboards around the city.
Jessica is clearly rocking it at being a great writer and inspiring teacher, but there’s one more thing that must be mentioned, and that’s her superpower…being an animal rescuer.
A big part of Jessica’s life is helping animals in need. She uses her skills as a writer and social media maven to volunteer with Zoe’s Animal Rescue. A self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, Jessica also admits she is only to happy to help out by fostering cats and kittens whenever she can.
Reflecting on the what if…
Finishing up our lattes, I quiz Jessica on what she would ask the world if she could put just one question out there for people to consider. Laughing and rubbing her forehead in thought, she says with a smirk, “well, it’s gotta be about cats, right?”