Kelly Watt is an award-winning Canadian author whose writing ranges from short stories to novels to non-fiction, for adults and teens. A revised edition of her first book, the gothic novel Mad Dog, is being published in the U.S. this fall, with Hamilton Stone Editions, Inc. (2019) in honour of the #metoo era. When Mad Dog was originally published in Canada by Doubleday (2001), it was a Globe and Mail notable book.


Kelly's short fiction has been longlisted twice for the prestigious CBC Short Story Contest (2015/2018); and the Gloria Vanderbilt Short Fiction Contest (2012). Her creative non-fiction has also been longlisted also for the CBC Nonfiction Contest (2019) and won an Honourable Mention at Grit Lit’s Memoir Contest (2019). Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Nowhere Magazine, The Broken Plate, DAP: The Diverse Arts Project, Dandelion, SOL: English Writing in Mexico and The Malahat Review; and included in the anthologies Best Canadian Stories and She Writes.


Originally from Toronto, Kelly lived in various foster situations and neighbourhoods in the city, until she went away to India for her last year of high school. She graduated and attended university in Strasbourg, France, where she studied writing and drama at Schiller College. She completed one year of the Masters Drama Program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. For five years in the1990s, she worked as an activist and volunteer spokesperson with Persons Against Non-State Actor Torture, giving talks on human trafficking and child sexual abuse, and has presented at conferences in the U.S. and Canada, a highlight of which was at the 51st Commission on the Status of Women, at the United Nations in New York (2006.) 
Kelly also loves walking. To date she has gone on three pilgrimages. She wrote about walking and meditating in Spain in her second book, the mini travel companion, Camino Meditations. She completed her meditation teacher training with Naturality Path in Hamilton (2014), and pays it forward by occasionally leading free meditation walks on the Bruce Trail in Ontario. She has lived in India, Mexico, and the United States, but now makes her home in the countryside with her husband, a miniature schnauzer and three diligent chickens. 

Awards & Recognitions

  • 2019 Longlisted for the CBC Nonfiction prize.
  • 2019 Kelly won an Honourable Mention at gritLIT, Hamilton's Readers and Writers Festival. Read her story here!

  • 2018 Kelly was longlisted for the prestigious CBC Short Story Prize. Her story Fall of the High Flyers, was in the top 27 out of two thousand submissions. 

  • 2015 She was longlisted for the prestigious CBC Short Story prize. 

  • 2012 Her short fiction was long-listed in the Gloria Vanderbilt Short Fiction Contest. 

  • 1991 Kelly won first prize in Dandelion Magazine's contest. 

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