For local writer and filmmaker Lizzie Derksen, creativity is a constant. From knitting and baking to writing and filmmaking, Derksen is immersed in various artistic endeavours. “Making things and making sense of things is intrinsic to who I am, as a person, as a woman. I can’t think of anything more exhilarating or truly meaningful than manifesting a fantasy or an idea in some form of reality,” she says.
Derksen started making films when she was 23 but has been writing since childhood. Her most recent publication, Aunt Rachel Says 13 Poems, debuted in late November at Glass Book- shop. Whether on the page or the screen, the themes she explores remain the same: “domesticity, post-Christianity, feminine magic, money, sex, oil, childhood, embarrassment, agency, misogyny, love, the service industry,” she says. Despite their similar themes, Derksen says her writing tends to be “more intellectual and ideas-driven” whereas her films are “more sensual and intuitive.”
In 2018, Derksen won the Lieutenant Governor’s Emerging Artist Award for both her filmmaking and writing and received $10,000 in support of her continuing practice and the furthering of her career. “It was an immense honour and a huge surprise,” she says, noting that the chance to speak to the jurors at the award ceremony and hear their remarks was “very encouraging.” Derksen was also the only Edmontonian recipient of the award that year.
Derksen graduated from MacEwan in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English (Honours) and continues to live in Edmonton. She is one of the authors of the collaborative novel Project Compass (Monto Books 2017), and her writing has appeared in PRISM International, Room, Funicular Magazine, Poetry Is Dead, The Vault, and on CBC television. You can find much of her work on her website: lizziederksen.com
Photographs provided by Aspen Zettel Photography