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(Oct. 3, 2002, Gazette)

A room of her own

Photo by Chris Hammond
Patricia Young

An innovative Canada Council program, established in 1990, has brought a number of outstanding Canadian writers such as Kevin Major, Jane Urquhart and Wayne Johnston to Memorial’s campus. Memorial’s newest writer-in-residence, Patricia Young, will write, consult and interact with members of the Memorial community for about three months.

Hailing from British Columbia, Ms. Young is delighted to experience life in Newfoundland.

“Having grown up in Victoria, I’m very much a maritime person. I live right by the sea, and this just seemed like a nice echo of that,” said Ms. Young. A poet for 20 years, Ms. Young has published eight books of poetry, and has won a number of awards for her writing. Two of her books, Ruin and Beauty and More Watery Still, have been nominated for the Governor’s General Award.

Ms. Young has recently started writing fiction, and the time and space apart from home and job obligations that this position provides has allowed her to pursue this different kind of writing with aplomb.

“Writing fiction requires more concentrated, extended periods of time so that’s been great.” She hopes the short stories she writes while at Memorial will contribute to a collection she has been working on for several years.

Living in Newfoundland, Ms. Young feels, will give her a new perspective upon which she can draw for inspiration. “You come from somewhere else and you hear a name like ‘East White Hills’ and it’s really beautiful sounding, it’s very lovely. And that’s material to work with. I think you can see a place from a fresh perspective when you come from somewhere else, and that certainly generates activity.”

Dr. William Barker, head of the Department of English Language and Literature, emphasized the benefits of the writer-in-residence program both within and outside the university community.

“It’s an enlivening addition to campus life, and it adds energy to what we’re doing.” Through activities such as open readings, the public can become involved in the program as well.

Ms. Young is available to consult with students, faculty and other interested parties. For more information on the writer-in-residence program or to contact Patricia Young, call the English Department at Memorial at 737-8276.