Melanie Schnell

Assistant Professor
MFA (University of British Columbia); BEd (University of Regina)

Office: AH 311
Phone: 306-585-4429

Research interests

  • Writing Pedagogy
  • Creative Writing
  • Fiction
  • War Literature
  • The lives of trees
  • Mental illness narratives

Melanie grew up on a farm in southern Saskatchewan and lived in several countries before spending the better part of one year in South Sudan where she did the core of her research for her first novel, While the Sun is Above Us.

While the Sun is Above Us (Freehand Books, 2012) won the Saskatchewan First Book Award and The City of Regina Award in 2013 and was shortlisted for The Fiction Award and Book of the Year award. The novel has been listed as part of the ELA A30 curriculum in both Public and Catholic schools across Saskatchewan.

She has published long and short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her poem, “Granddaughter”, won first place in the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild Manuscript Awards in 2008. Her television scripts aired on SCN and CBC in 2009. Her fiction placed second in the City of Regina Awards in 2010 and 2017.

Melanie developed ENGL 152, an introductory creative writing course that focuses on grammar and syntax basics for writers, along with developing the skill of reading literature as someone engaged in the craft. The course introduces new writers to the workshop process where they hone their skills in writing and editing their peers' and their own work.

She is at work on her second novel, a literary murder mystery set in Canada.

Melanie teaches the following courses face-to-face and online: ENGL 100 and ENGL 100 HSXL, ENGL 110, ENGL 152 (Introduction to Creative Writing), ENGL 252 (Creative Writing) and ENGL 352 (Creative Writing: Fiction)

She has supervised several creative writing projects in the English Dept.

Selected Publications

Books: While the Sun is Above Us (novel). Calgary: Freehand Books/Broadview Press; Spring 2012

Fiction: “Remembering Ground.” The Society, Vol. 8, 2011

Poetry: “Chance Encounter.” Release Any Words Stuck Inside of You III, Applebeard Editions, Summer 2021  

“Survival/Memory.” Grain Magazine, Summer 2018

“Called Home.” Spring, Vol. 6, October 2009

Non-Fiction Articles: “Life in Juba.” Sudan Mirror, January, 2006
           “Resources for Indigenous Film and Video Makers.” Cultural Survival Quarterly, Summer, 2005
           “Pear ta Ma ‘on Maf/The Land Has Eyes.” Cultural Survival Quarterly, Spring, 2005


2017: City of Regina Writing Award (SWG): Runner-Up

2013: City of Regina Award: Winner

2013: Saskatchewan First Book Award: Winner

2013: Saskatchewan Fiction Award: Shortlisted

2013: Saskatchewan Book of the Year: Shortlisted

2010: City of Regina Writing Award (SWG): Runner-Up

2008: Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild Short Manuscript Awards: 1st Place – Poetry

Selected Presentations

2019: Led a creative writing workshop at the Sandra Schmirler library for staff and students of W.F. Ready School.

2019: Presented a Seminar on Workshopping to students and the University Community as part of the English Student’s Association Proseminar

2019: Presented “Teaching War Literature: Moving from Experience to Participant in the Literary Journey” as part of the Annual Saskatoon Exchange at the U of S in March

2019: Presented “Teaching War Literature: Moving from Experience to Participant in the Literary Journey” for the English Department’s OMAD series in October

2018: Presenter at Brandon University as part of their speaker series, “Literary Exchange.” Led a Creative Writing workshop at the Brandon Public Library

2017: Guest Speaker, Indian Head Library 2017: Guest Panelist, “Moms who Write,” Regina Public Library

2014: Guest Lecturer, “New Feminist Lecture,” Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Saskatchewan (

2014: Guest Author, Estevan Comprehensive High school and University Women’s Club, Estevan, SK

2014: Guest Speaker, Willow Awards, Regina SK

2014: Guest Speaker, Grandmothers for Grandmothers, Regina SK 2014-2017: Speaker, Creative Writing Panel, University of Regina Open House

2013: Guest Author, The Festival of Words, Moose Jaw, SK

2013: Guest Author, Word on the Street, Saskatoon, SK