Cathleen With completed her Masters' degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Her thesis became the short story collection Skids (Arsenal Pulp, 2006), about street kids on the downtown east side of Vancouver.
After an adolescence spent in a spiral of drug and alcohol abuse, With cleaned up her act and went back to school.
Among her many adventures, she has worked at a camp for disabled kids and lived for six months in Hawaii and Australia. She served as a drama education volunteer in Kathmandu, a caregiver at Mother Theresa's Home for the Sick and Destitute in Calcutta, an English teacher to former sex trade kids in Cambodia, and as a teacher in Inuvik, NWT and in Seoul, Korea.
Having Faith in the Polar Girls' Prison (Penguin Group Canada, 2009) is her first novel, inspired by her years of teaching in the North. It won the 2010 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize from the BC Book Prizes.