Alumni Spotlight – Brent van Staalduinen

Brent van Staalduinen began attending OCS in 1982 (Grade 3) and graduated in 1989. One of the highlights for him was sports. Mr. Milliquette, the Phys Ed teacher and a former player for the Montréal Alouettes, would take the boys to the nearby community ice rink in the winters to play hockey – this was the highlight of the week for them. Brent also played floor hockey, basketball and volleyball at OCS. Along with sports, Brent has fond memories of taking the bus to school, attending school musicals, and sneaking into the janitor’s closet to clean chalk brushes using the janitor’s vacuum. His not-so-fond memories include frequent visits to the principal’s office. 

As an introvert, when Brent arrived at OCS in Grade 3 as the new kid in class, it took him some time to form friendships. His teachers always encouraged students to read, and with the many free evenings he had, Brent had a lot of time to do this. This free time turned into a gift, as his love of reading eventually birthed his love of writing.

After OCS, Brent attended Redeemer and St. Pius X high schools in Ottawa. He then began his career as a lifelong learner, studying Radio Broadcasting at Fanshawe College, English Literature at Redeemer University, and Education at Brock University. After teaching English overseas and in Toronto for several years, he completed a diploma in Creative Writing at Humber College and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at UBC. 

Brent currently works part-time as a librarian for the Hamilton Library. While he enjoys this job, he considers writing his vocation and his true love. An award-winning writer, Brent has written and had published three novels. His first novel, “Saints, Unexpected” was published in 2016, and his second, “Boy,” in 2020. His latest novel, “Nothing but Life,” was just launched in February, 2021. Brent has also written a collection of short stories set to be published in 2022. 

As a librarian, Brent makes an impact by helping people find good fiction and interacting with the community. As a fiction writer, he uses the best of his education and creativity to bring beautiful words to many people. “God has given me the ability to put words together in beautiful and meaningful ways,” he says. “It’s a witness, and often brings me into spaces where there are not many Christians.” Brent and his wife Rosalee and their daughters Nora and Alida live in Hamilton. For more information about Brent’s work, see http://www.brentvans.com.

Article written by Annemarie VanderVeen