Michael Winter named writer-in-residence
By Janet Harron
One of several acclaimed authors to emerge from Newfoundland and Labrador in recent years, Michael Winter has been named the Faculty of Arts' writer-in-
residence for the fall 2012 semester.
"Jane Urquhart was one of the first writers-in-residence at Memorial and I remember submitting some fiction to her to read," said Mr. Winter. "This was 20 years ago. I hadn't published anything except for a few poems. Her comments were really helpful. So I'm delighted to be able to step in her shoes and encourage some writers with their work. If you've never noticed, Jane has beautiful, talented feet."
Mr. Winter is the author of two collections of short stories and four novels, most recently The Death of Donna Whalen, nominated for both the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. The Architects Are Here was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and The Big Why was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award and the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
The Death of Donna Whalen is a fascinating work of experimental fiction, crafted almost entirely from court transcripts of a controversial murder trial that took place in St. John's, N.L., in the early 1990s.
In 2005 the Canadian literary establishment demonstrated their esteem for the author by appointing him to one of the most influential positions in the writing community: the judging panel for the Giller Prize. Serving alongside Alice Munro and Adrienne Clarkson, Mr. Winter was amongst the youngest jurors ever selected. His vast experience in mentoring other writers includes a stint as director of the master of arts creative writing program at the University of Toronto.
Mr. Winter is looking forward to his stint as writer-in-residence and believes that teaching is "a conversation."
"I've had a number of exceptional students in the past who have made me realize new things about writing and the imagination."
Mr. Winter was born in England but moved to Newfoundland with his family at the age of three. He graduated with a degree in economic geography from Memorial University in 1986 and was one of the founding members of the St. John's writers' group The Burning Rock Collective in the early 1990s.
He lives in Toronto with his partner and young son but spends summers in a restored house in Conception Bay.
Mr. Winter will be available for consultation with members of the university community and the general public beginning in early September. Contact information will be available through Memorial University's Department of English. He will give a public reading on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Petro-Canada Hall beginning at 8 p.m. Both admission and parking are free.
The position of writer-in-residence is funded by Memorial University's dean of arts and by the Canada Council for the Arts.