I believe writing is the best way to figure out what we think. And I believe what we eat expresses who we are. I love what happens when these things come together.
My stories are published in The Globe & Mail, enRoute, Ottawa Magazine, Chatelaine, ELLE Canada, Canadian Geographic Travel, among others. When Ottawa restaurants ushered in the brave new wave of fine dining, trading austerity for conviviality and swapping foie gras for chicken livers on toast, I tracked the trend in a Top Ten Restaurants feature that asked the question: Is Fine Dining Dead? It won a National Magazine Award in 2011.
For more than a decade I charted the city’s food scene as food editor and columnist for OTTAWA magazine. I was also the original blogger behind the magazine’s City Bites website. I write about restaurants but it always felt more honest to call myself an eating writer (a term coined, probably in jest, by Calvin Trillin) than a restaurant critic.
I also use my writing skills to help charities and non-profit organizations better communicate their stories to connect with donors and assist in fundraising efforts.
Thanks to a stint volunteering at the amazing non-profit literacy organization 826LA, I discovered a love of teaching and encouraging young writers to find their voices on the page. When I returned from Los Angeles, I developed a creative writing course that emphasizes the practical, hands-on creative non-fiction writing skills needed to work and live in our digital age. I teach The Elements of Storytelling at Carleton University.
I live in Canada’s capital and I feed my soul everywhere else. My desert island food is Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Please feel free to contact me at shawnawagman[at]gmail[dot]com.