Alma Lee was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. She began her career of promoting writers and reading at the House of Anansi Press in Toronto in 1971. She was the founding Executive Director of The Writers’ Union of Canada and the founding Executive Director of The Writers’ Trust. She worked as an Associate Producer for Universal Pictures for several years in Toronto then moved to the west coast in 1984 and founded the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival in 1988.
She worked for two years with the Federal Government in Human Resources Development delivering job creation programs to local businesses and non-profit agencies and organizations. Alma served on the founding Board of Directors of Aids Vancouver as well as the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Arts and Culture. She has written and published a gift book “Scotch”, a journal of single malt whisky.
In October, 2000 she was awarded the Jack Award, named after Canadian publisher Jack McClelland, and presented by the Book Promoters Association of Canada to people who have made a major contribution to the promotion of books and writers in Canada and abroad. Alma was the recipient of the Woman of Distinction Award in the Arts Category in 1998 and received a Commemorative Medal celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. She has served on the juries of the B.C. Book Prizes for fiction, the Canadian Authors Association non-fiction prize, the Readings Program jury for The Canada Council and the Literary Committee for the BC Arts Council.
She was appointed to the Granville Island Trust, is a member of the Advisory Board of Event Magazine, the literary journal of Douglas College, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Granville Island Cultural Society. In July, 2002 she was appointed to the British Columbia Arts Council and in 2005 she received a Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Simon Fraser University and was also invested into the Order of Canada.