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Di Brandt: 2014-2015 Writer-in-Residence

Di Brandt photoDi Brandt has been selected as the Winnipeg Public Library's Writer-in-Residence for 2014 - 2015. Starting October 1 and ending in April 2015, Di will work with the public through individual consultations and group workshops, in addition to allocating time to her own writing.

Di Brandt is one of Canada's most admired poets. Her award-winning collections include questions i ask my mother; Jerusalem, beloved; and Walking to Mojácar. She is also an acclaimed essayist and literary critic, and has collaborated with numerous other writers, translators, artists, and music composers. Born in Winkler, Brandt has taught Creative Writing at the Universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Alberta, Windsor and Brandon, and has given readings, workshops and lectures across North America, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Japan.

"My mentoring philosophy is very simple: I try to really 'hear' what the writer is trying to communicate and create in the work-in-progress, and to help him or her accomplish that in its most sparkly, vivacious, engaging form," says Brandt. Many of her former students and mentees have gone on to make careers in writing and publishing.

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 < >

or mailed to:
Reader Services
251 Donald Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3P5

Include a cover letter containing a brief description of your writing background and the specific feedback you would like, as well as all contact information including an email address. Note that submissions must be copies as they will not be returned.

Manuscripts must follow strict submission guidelines: typed in 12-point font and on one side of the page only (prose: double-spaced, poetry: single-spaced). Prose submissions should not exceed 15 pages; poetry submissions should not exceed six poems. Di will contact writers directly. Manuscripts will be accepted until March 15, 2015.

The Writer-in-Residence service is free.

View the Writer-in-Residence 2014-2015 handout.


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, Di Brandt), 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.

Term  Writer
1985  Sandra Birdsell 
1986  Carol Matas 
1987  Anne Szumigalski 
1989  Geoffry Ursell 
1990  Merna Summers 
1991  Kate Bitney * 
1993  Fraser Sutherland * 
1993  Larry Krotz 
1998  Marcien Ferland * 
1999  Linda Holeman 
2000  George Amabile 
2001  Margaret Sweatman 
2002  David Bergen 
2003  Miriam Toews 
2004  Duncan Thornton 
2005  John Weier 
2006  Chandra Mayor 
2007  Doug Whiteway 
2008  Bruce McManus 
2009  Maurice Mierau

On October 17, 2009, Joan Thomas, author of the On the Same Page: Manitoba Reads title Reading by Lightning, sat down for a conversation with fellow author Maurice Mierau. Listen to the event.
2010  Melissa Steele
2011 Terry Jordan
2012 Joan Thomas
2013 Méira Cook
2014 Di Brandt

Last update: Friday, March 27, 2015

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