Souvankham Thammavongsa, the winner of the 2020 Giller Prize, is this year’s Carol Shields writer-in-residence at the University of Winnipeg.
In addition to her prize-winning short fiction collection, How to Pronounce Knife, Thammavongsa is the author of four collections of poetry. She’s also a finalist for the 2020 U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award, the winner of which will be announced in March, and has been longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award for writers of colour.
As writer-in-residence, she’ll be available for online consultations until Friday, Feb. 12, and again from Feb. 22 to March 5. She’ll also deliver the Carol Shields Distinguished Lecture on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. To sign up for the online lecture, register at wfp.to/shieldslecture.
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Meanwhile, Winnipeg poet/novelist/graphic novelist Katherena Vermette is taking on similar duties across town at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.
Vermette, winner of the Governor General’s Award for poetry for North End Love Songs and the Amazon First Novel Award for The Break, is writer in residence until April 18.
She’ll be available for individual online consultations and lead a six-week online workshop.
For more information, see wfp.to/vermette.
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Books exploring the history of the Métis and the design and development of Assiniboine Park have won Manitoba Day Awards from the Association for Manitoba Archives.
The North West Is Our Mother, by Jean Teillet, tells the story of the Métis from their late 18th-century origins through to the present. Teillet, a leading Aboriginal rights lawyer, is a great-grandniece of Louis Riel.
Assiniboine Park: Designing and Developing a People’s Playground, places the history of Winnipeg’s most popular park in the context of park development in cities across North America. Author David Spector is a historian and former research manager for Parks Canada.
An online ceremony will be held for the winners in May.
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A change in award criteria will now make it easier for writers to emerge late — and we’re not talking about when they’re getting out of bed.
The Writers’ Trust administers two $10,000 RBC Bronwen Wallace Emerging Writer awards, one for poetry and the other for fiction. While the awards have been limited to newly published writers 35 and under since they were established in 1994, starting this year writers of any age will be eligible.
A recent online campaign to change the criteria noted the age restriction penalized writers without the means or opportunity to dedicate themselves to creative work early in life.
In other Writers’ Trust news, the organization has renamed and increased the value of its annual fiction prize. The renamed Atwood Gibson Prize, named after Margaret Atwood and her late partner Graeme Gibson, will now be worth $60,000.
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Manitoba writers and readers can celebrate the province’s literary community this winter in a series of online events known as the Manitoba Book Jam.
The one-hour events feature readings by Manitoba writers, as well as a musical guest, with host Anita Daher, a children’s and young adult novelist and chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada.
The events, funded by the Manitoba government’s Safe at Home program, run the third Thursday of the month in February and March.
For more information and link to the registration form, see the Manitoba Book Jam Facebook page at wfp.to/bookjam.
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A planned North American prize for fiction written by women received a big boost last month when philanthropist Melinda Gates donated US$250,000 to help establish the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction.
The award will be launched in 2023 and will give US$150,000 to a woman or non-binary writer of fiction. Eligible works will be written in English, or French or Spanish books translated into English, and must be published in Canada or the U.S. and written by citizens and residents of the U.S. or Canada.