Chris Urquhart is the author of Dirty Kids: Chasing Freedom with America’s Nomads, published by Greystone Books in September 2017. This book follows the lives of young American nomads and runaways over a three-year period, and features photographs by Kitra Cahana (National Geographic) and a foreword by Micah White (co-founder of Occupy Wall Street).

Urquhart’s writing has appeared in VICE, Adbusters, COLORS Magazine, Broken Pencil, Maisonneuve, The Santiago Times, and Russian Esquire, among other publications. She is a two-time Canada Council grant recipient, a former SSHRC fellow, and Ontario Graduate Scholar. She holds a BA from McGill University in Anthropology and World Religions, an MFA from the University of British Columbia in Creative Writing, and a Master of Teaching from OISE, University of Toronto.

From March to mid-May 2019, Urquhart will be writer-in-residence at Historic Joy Kogawa House; her work will focus on queer positionality, experimental ethnography, and writing about early childhood sexual abuse.

Please join her for one or both writing workshops: one on ethnography and experimental memoir and the other on writing through and about sexual trauma.

Masterclass on ethnographic memoir and hybrid nonfiction forms

Date: Thursday, March 28

Time: 6:00 to 9:00pm

Where: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver

In this interactive masterclass, we will be explore the position of the writer in telling the personal stories of other people. This workshop will begin with a reading from Chris Urquhart’s book, Dirty Kids: Chasing Freedom with America’s Nomads, which includes long-form interviews with teenage runaways across the USA, focusing specifically on the voices of female and trans-identified travellers. Together, we will ask:

  • How can we problematize the concept of the writer/researcher as the “authority”?
  • How do we balance our position as an outsider/observer with the lived reality of participant observation-based research?

We will touch on hybrid and newly emerging forms, and writing activities will be provided.

COST: Free for members (sign up for $25 on our Support page)

RSVP: Let us know you’ll be there with an email note to

Workshop: Writing for survival, writing on sexual assault

Date: Monday, May 6

Time: 6:00 to 9:00pm

Where: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver

This is a free interactive workshop for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters. In Gently to Nagasaki, Joy Kogawa’s 2016 memoir, she discusses pedophilia, a condition that has touched her life personally through the revelation that her father was an offender while serving as an Anglican priest. Author Chris Urquhart also will draw from her ethnographic memoir, Dirty Kids: Chasing Freedom with America’s Nomads, and explain how this research led her to write about her own experiences as a child. We will ask, as Joy has asked before: How do you recover from discovering that someone you love has done terrible things? This workshop will feature a short reading, writing activities, and plans for aftercare.

“The truth does make you free; the truth that you must hide. When you no longer hide it then you come out from the cave.”—Joy Kogawa. 

Link to CBC interview with Joy

COST: Free

RSVP: Let us know you’ll be there with an email note to