Méira Cook has been selected as the Winnipeg Public Library's Writer-in-Residence for 2013 - 2014. Starting October 1 and ending in April 2014, Méira will work with the public through individual consultations and group workshops, in addition to allocating time to her own writing.
"As an adopted Winnipegger, I feel lucky to have found a home in a city with so many resources for writers and artists," Cook said. "The Millennium Library is, in many ways, an important focal point for the city's writing community."
Méira Cook was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and immigrated to Canada in the early 1990s. While she worked as a journalist in South Africa, she began writing poetry and fiction when she came to Canada. She has published four books of poetry, a novella, and a book of essays. The House on Sugarbush Road, her first full-length novel, was published last year and won the McNally-Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year Award. Cook lives in Winnipeg.
Established in 1985, the Library's Writer-in-Residence program is a way for new, emerging, and established writers to have their manuscripts read and critiqued.
Beginning October 1, copies of manuscripts may be dropped off at any Winnipeg Public Library branch,
emailed to < firstname.lastname@example.org >
or mailed to:
251 Donald Street
Writers should include a cover letter containing a brief description of their writing background and the specific feedback they would like, as well as all contact information including an email address. Note that submissions must be copies as they will not be returned.
View Writer-in-Residence Wrap-up Event poster.
View Writer-in-Residence handout 2013-2014.
Photo credit: Robyn Shapiro
The Writer-in-Residence program is co-sponsored by the Winnipeg Public Library Board, the Government of Manitoba, the Manitoba Writers' Guild and Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library, and the Manitoba Government.
For more information on the Writer-in-Residence program, please call Danielle Pilon at 204-986-2802.
History of the Program
The Winnipeg Public Library launched its Writer-in-Residence program in 1985 by appointing Sandra Birdsell for a short term. She was followed in 1986 by Carol Matas for another short term residency.
With the program well underway, the Library applied for a grant from the Canada Council to provide 50% of the funding for the program. Under Canada Council rules, the Library was obliged to choose a writer who did not live in the province. Over the next few years, the Library hosted several Canadian writers including Anne Szumigalski, Geoffrey Ursell, and Merna Summers.
During the mid 90s, the Library was unable to continue to fund its portion of the program and so it was suspended. In 1997, the Manitoba Writers' Guild decided to initiate its own program and offered the services of a writer-in-residence at the University of Winnipeg. Although the program was a success, the Guild recognized that the Library setting was more accessible to the general public.
In 1998, the Guild approached the Library to begin the program again as a partnership. The next residency was a short term one at the St. Boniface Library with Marcien Ferland working in French. The Guild and the Library successfully applied for a grant from the Manitoba Arts Council for a 9-month term and in the fall of 1999 Linda Holeman began her term as the Writer-in-Residence.
The next year, the Library took over the financial responsibility for the program and was successful in applying for funds from a variety of sources including the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Advisory Council, Friends of Winnipeg Public Library and the Winnipeg Public Library Board. With the assistance of the Manitoba Writers' Guild, George Amabile was chosen for a 6-month term beginning in the fall of 2000.
Since then, the Winnipeg Public Library has hosted poets (John Weier, Maurice Mierau), short fiction writers (Chandra Mayor, Melissa Steele), young adult writers (Duncan Thornton), genre authors (Doug Whiteway), and award-winning literary novelists (David Bergen, Miriam Toews, Terry Jordan). In 2008 the program chose its first playwright, Bruce McManus.
Full List of Writers-in-Residence
Each writer's term began in the fall of the starting year and ended in the spring or summer of the following year. Writers who served a shorter term due to funding shortfalls are marked with an asterisk. If a year is omitted, the program was on hiatus during that time.
Last update: Tuesday, March 11, 2014