Debbie Okun Hill has been writing for over 30 years. She is an experienced journalist/communication specialist, previously employed at two rural newspapers as well as The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. As a freelance writer, she wrote media releases, advertorials for local magazines and had work published in such international publications as Chicken Soup for the Soul and other inspirational books. However, since 2003, she has made poetry her focus.
Born and raised on the prairies, Debbie earned a Diploma in Applied Arts, Creative Communication Program from Red River Community College and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lakehead University. From 2001 to 2005, she returned to her studies and completed on-line college courses on creative writing and poetry as well as in-class workshops with Brian Henry. In 2012 she attended a poetry retreat led by Allan Briesmaster and in 2014 took a half-day workshop with Don McKay. She now gardens words full-time in rural southwestern Ontario.
In addition to reading and writing, she loves to promote the work of other writers. For eight seasons (September 2005 to June 2013) she co-hosted Spoken Word, a monthly open mic event for poets and storytellers in the Sarnia-Lambton area and was named The Ontario Poetry Society’s Member of the Year, 2007 for her volunteer work with the organization. She has read her work throughout Ontario including the Fringe Stage of the 2011 Eden Mills Writers Festival, the 2012 PoeTrain Express/Spring Pulse Poetry Festival in Cobalt and the Artword Artbar in Hamilton. She has also been invited to read in such Canadian cities as Fredericton, Calgary, and Vancouver.