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Winnipeg Public Library


Christine Fellows and John K. Samson

2016 Writers-in-Residence John K. Samson and Christine Fellows

Christine Fellows and John K. Samson are the first duo selected for this residency. As collaborators, they work closely together on manuscripts, scores, performances and recordings. Together, they have championed the art of songwriting in workshops and residencies across Canada, including at the University of Manitoba's Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. They joined UBC's Creative Writing Faculty in 2014, teaching courses in songwriting and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

In 2014 Christine Fellows released her sixth solo album, Burning Daylight, alongside her first collection of poetry. John K. Samson has released five albums with the Winnipeg band The Weakerthans, two solo albums, and the book Lyrics & Poems, 1997-2012. They have published poetry and prose in several magazines and literary journals, including The Believer, Contemporary Verse 2, and Geist. Samson also co-founded local press ARP Books.


The Writers-in-Residence provides online and in-person consultation with emerging and established writers of all genres from an office located in Millennium Library.

Submit your Manuscript or Songs

Include a cover letter with a brief description of your writing background and the specific feedback you would like, as well as all contact information including an email address.

Manuscripts must follow strict submission guidelines:

  • typed in 12-point font
  • one side of the page only
  • Prose: double-spaced, not exceeding 15 pages
  • Poetry: single-spaced, not exceeding six poems
  • Songs: mp3s and lyrics, not exceeding two songs

Manuscripts and songs will be accepted until March 13, 2017.

From October 3, 2016 to March 13, 2017, manuscripts and songs for review can be:

Emailed to

Or a copy can be dropped off at the Reader Services desk at Millennium Library or mailed to:

Reader Services
251 Donald Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 3P5

*Note that paper submissions must be copies as they will not be returned.

The Writers-in-Residence will contact you directly with feedback and/or to make an appointment to review your manuscript. Response times vary – replies can take a few days or weeks.

The Writers-in-Residence service is free.

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, Patricia Robertson), 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.

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.

1985 - Sandra Birdsell
1986 - Carol Matas
1987 - Anne Szumigalski
1989 - Geoffry Ursell
1990 - Merner 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
2010 - Melissa Steele
2011 - Terry Jordan
2012 - Joan Thomas
2013 - Méira Cook
2014 - Di Brandt
2015 - Patricia Robertson
2016 - Christine Fellows and John K. Samson


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.

For more information on the Writer-in-Residence program, please call Danielle Pilon at 204-986-2802 or email

Last update: March 2, 2017