Carly Rosalie Vandergriendt was born in Kitchener, Ontario. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology: Brain and Cognition from the University of Guelph, completing her honours undergraduate thesis project under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Meegan.
Throughout her degree, Carly gained experience in the social service sector through positions with Service Canada, Community Living, Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, and on-campus as the coordinator of the Wellness Centre’s Sexual Assault Free Environment team. She fed her passion for writing through a bi-weekly relationships column for the University of Guelph’s student newspaper, The Ontarion, and by volunteering at the Learning Commons as an academic writing mentor for first-year science students.
In the summer of 2010, Carly took a chance on an opportunity that changed her life—she went tree planting.A month and a half of early mornings, rain, and black flies funded a semester abroad at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
After graduating in 2011, Carly realized that although she would remain curious about the mind and behaviour, she really wanted to be able to explore the questions she had through writing—specifically, fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She set out to pursue that goal.
But travel still attracted her. In 2012, Carly moved to Jaipur, India, securing an internship through AIESEC as a content writer and editor for an online publishing start-up. Living and working in India was not without its challenges, but it brought many joys. It also became a source of inspiration: Carly chronicled her experiences in a from-the-field blog with Verge Magazine.
After returning to Canada, Carly embarked on a new adventure: a relationship with a longtime friend and fellow tree planter. They spent their first winter together touring Mexico in a 1978 GMC VanDura camper van and later settled in Montréal, Québec.
In September 2013, Carly began a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing through the University of British Columbia’s Optional-Residency Program. Since then, she has had the privilege of participating in workshops with a few of her CanLit heroes, including Miriam Toews, Nancy Lee, and Annabel Lyon. Carly serves on the editorial board of PRISM international and offers writing mentorships and manuscript evaluations both privately and through Booming Ground. She will complete her master’s degree in late 2016.