Spencer Pickles, Managing Editor

Spencer Pickles is the Managing Editor of This Side of West. The fourth year Writing and Professional Communications student specializes in screenplay. His work has been featured in the Martlet, Business Class, and This Side of West earning him a nomination for the John H. Macdonald award for humour writing. He is the host of the podcast All The Write Stuff and a founding member of the Writing Course Union. When he isn’t worrying about his impending graduation, he can be found yelling at Riley.

Aleesha Koersen, Director of Social Media

Aleesha is the Director of Social Media this year for This Side of West. She is excited to have an official title that feeds into her semi-serious social media addiction. In addition to TSOW, Aleesha is also serving as the Managing Editor for the Coastal Spectator.  She is in the final months of her BFA in Writing and has been specializing in poetry (writing disproportionately about cows and dead things) and minoring in journalism. Aleesha has written and taken photos for a few small-town newspapers and once had a website where she wrote about strangers’ shoes. 

Leslie Ahenda, Intern

Leslie Ahenda is excited to break into the world of creative writing with This Side of West. She is interested in conceptual poetry and visual poetry. Her most noteworthy work to date is a chapbook of experimental poetry appropriating the work of Sherri-D Wilson. her main influences are Vanessa Place, Christian Bök, and Kenneth Goldsmith. She likes baroque music, doesn’t kill spiders, and hopes to one day be relevant enough to be asked to give a TED talk.


Kim Dias, Intern

Originally from South Africa, Kim Dias grew up in Singapore and Brunei before moving to Canada in 2008. She leans mostly towards writing fiction, though she enjoys playwriting and poetry on occasion. She swears that one day she will manage to finish writing a novel—one day. She has had short stories published in various anthologies by Dreamspinner Press and the New Smut Project. She loves warm weather, days spent by the fireplace with a good book, and cuddling her dog.

Rachael Lesosky, Events Coordinator

Rachael is in her final year of creative writing at UVic, with a heart for poetry and fiction. She finds inspiration from the landscape of her hometown in the Okanagan Valley, particularly from days spent in her family’s vineyard. Other interests include birds, dancing, and trying to become ambidextrous.

Kathryn Hall, Director of Submissions

Vancouver-born Kathryn Hall is in her fifth and final year at the University of Victoria specializing in Fiction. Kathryn worked as a consulting producer and transmedia coordinator for the web series The Autobiography of Jane Eyre and wrote episodes thirty-two, thirty-four, and forty-one. She continues to work for the production company Kalama+Tea that created AoJE. She is also a fan of Jeff Goldblum, for unknown reasons.

Colten Dom, Drama Editor

Born and groomed in rainy Vancouver, Colten is a fourth-year student pursuing a double major in Writing and English Literature. Specializing in drama and fiction, he has entertained stints of journalism, working as an editorial intern for the Georgia Straight newspaper this past summer. Currently the lead editor for an online publication called the Good View Social Club, he previously founded the digital writing collective Argot— deceased, but not forgotten. He recently received the Haig-Brown Award for Conservation Writing. His short story, “A Dunwich Farmhouse,” was published in This Side of West’s 2014 issue, and he assisted as a copy editor for last year’s accepted screenplays. He runs on a diet equal parts coffee and burnt toast, and is wildly obsessed with dialogue, reading, and swimming pools.

Jakelene Plan, Drama Editor

Jakelene was born in Regina, raised in Calgary, and recently spent eight months on the Sunshine Coast of BC working with Caitlin Press, an independent publishing house. Now in her fifth year of her writing and economics degree, she is a returning drama editor to This Side of West. In the last year, she has had her one-act play Cavendish performed by the Student Alternative Theatre Company, received both the Grant MacEwan Writing Scholarship and the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship, and helped published eighteen different books with Caitlin Press. She is currently at work on her first full-length play.

Tara Fietz, Creative Nonfiction Editor

Dramatically cursed with dry, British wit and a Scottish temper, Tara Fietz has a chronic

love of books and getting lost in them while dinner quietly burns. Naturally, this led her

to writing, and her zeal for the written word hasn’t diminished since her early first novel,

all 191 hand-scribbled pages of it— in which she had a major crush on her male lead

character. After moving eight times since her Ottawa birthplace— mostly around

Alberta, discovering she likes neither horses nor cold weather— Tara seems to have

settled down for good in Victoria, BC. Her poetry has won a place in two previous

writing contests, including Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. She is also a University of

Victoria student in Creative Writing and Greek and Roman Studies, juggling poetry,

Greek epics and Latin with a longterm, committed relationship with her debut novel,

adding doses of rosé when required.