Julia Zarankin works as a writing coach, editor and regularly lectures about Russian culture to later life learners in and around Toronto. She was longlisted for the 2010 CBC Literary Awards and her stories and personal essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, the Globe and Mail, The Dalhousie Review, and the Antioch Review. Julia’s writing has been supported by grants from the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils and she was recently awarded an artist residency at the MacDowell Colony. She also blogs about birds, words, binoculars, and a variety of other essential matters at birdsandwords.wordpress.com. In her former life (which ended in 2008), Julia worked as a Russian literature professor at the University of Missouri.