What I Do

First and foremost, I am a writer. I have a 25+ year track record of publishing both fiction and non-fiction in magazines, journals and, more recently, books.

As a science journalist, my writing focusses primarily on issues that impact the natural world and topics of concern to farmers. I have thrown a spotlight on native and invasive species, citizen science projects, vector-borne illnesses, cutting edge and traditional farming practices, pollinator health, and climate change. Current interests include novel and invasive species, the ecology of vector-borne illnesses, climate driven threats to nature and humans, sustainable farming practices, and anyone who has made a career pursuing these things. From June 2019 to October 2020, I published The Lyme Report, a bi-monthly subscription email newsletter devoted to tick and tick-borne illness research in Canada.

My magazine articles and columns have appeared in many regional and national publications, including Canadian Gardening, Canadian Living, Cottage, Garden Making, The Grower, Harrowsmith, Kootenay Life East, Kootenay Living Magazine, Route 3, Small Farm Canada, and Vitality Magazine. My non-fiction book, Rain on a Distant Roof: A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada (Signature Editions, 2013), explores the growing Lyme disease crisis in this country.

I am also a fiction writer. My short fiction has been published in literary journals across Canada and in the United States, including The Dalhousie Review, dANDelion, filling Station, The New Quarterly, PRECIPICe, Qwerty, and Reed Magazine. One of my short stories, "Napoleon's Eyes", was nominated for the Journey Prize. I have also written two books: the short story collection The Things She'll Be Leaving Behind (Thistledown Press, 2018) and the historical novel The Haweaters (Signature Editions, 2020), which was shortlisted for the 2021 Fred Kerner Book Award.

I am a proud member of the Canadian Authors Association, the Canadian Freelance Guild, The Writers Union of Canada, and Science Writers & Communicators of Canada.

I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Financial support provided by the Access Copyright Foundation through the Marian Hebb Research Grant and Professional Development Grant programs.

Financial support provided by the Writers Union of Canada through the National Public Readings Program.

Vanessa speaks with host Wayne MacPhail about the impact of climate change on wildfires on the Harrowsmith Radio Podcast.

Vanessa speaks with host Wayne MacPhail about the complicated role climate change plays in the tick invasion of Canada on the Harrowsmith Radio Podcast.