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Writer in residence moves in

By David Sorensen

Aislinn Hunter is quickly settling into her work and life in St. John’s where she will spend the next three months as Memorial’s writer-in-residence. She said the local writing community has welcomed her with open arms and that, combined with a comfortable downtown apartment she’s calling home, are contributing to an already productive semester.

“The place I’m subletting feels like home I’m so comfortable there,” she said. “So I’ve only been in here two weeks but I feel like I’m getting quite a bit of work done.”

This is not Ms. Hunter’s first writer-in-residence gig, but she said the benefits of such an appointment have more to do with the location than the position itself.

“When I was in England as Lancaster’s writer-in-residence it was the students (that made it special). There was something about the environment and the magic of this developing group of writers,” she said. “In Australia, for me it was some of the writers that I met in the community and some of the resources of the place.

“Here it is the ease with which people are welcoming me.”

She said she’s “completely envious” of the local writing community, comparing it to her home in British Columbia.

“The West Coast seems to have some writing communities but they are disparate,” she said.

Despite the expectation that writers need to write every day, Ms. Hunter does not, but says she is always observing and finding aspects of life that she may use in future writing.

“I think like a writer every day,” she explained. “I always have a notebook and I probably write something down in my notebook every day.

“I think if you’re dwelling on what it is you’re trying to say, or thinking structurally about the work, it doesn’t matter if you click the keys on a 24-hour basis.”

Ms. Hunter is the author of four highly regarded books, two of poetry and two of fiction: What’s Left Us, Into the Early Hours, Stay, and The Possible Past (all available at the University Bookstore).

She comes to Memorial from Vancouver where she teaches creative writing at Kwantlen University College.

While she is here in St. John’s she will be working primarily on a new collection of poetry and concerning herself with the biography of maps as both material objects and human constructs.

She will be at Memorial from September into December, and in addition to giving readings, workshops, a public lecture, and master classes, she will be available throughout the semester for private manuscript consultations with writers in the community and students.

Those wanting to make an appointment should contact her directly at and be prepared to submit a maximum of 10 pages (any genre) for review a week prior to their meeting with her. Please also include with your submission a short introductory note about yourself and your writing.

Ms. Hunter’s inaugural reading as Memorial’s writer-in-residence takes place on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Petro-Canada Hall (School of Music). All are welcome, admission is free.

Free parking is available in lot 15. Afterwards people are invited to come to the Duke of Duckworth Pub to meet and chat with the writer-in-residence.

For an extended interview with Aislinn Hunter, see Memorial’s podcast, Studio 1024, at