Author Marlatt takes up residence

October 21, 2004, vol. 31, no. 4
By Julie Ovenell-Carter

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SFU's English department has launched a new chapter with the appointment of acclaimed poet and novelist Daphne Marlatt as its first writer-in-residence in three decades.

The writer-in-residence program, once a significant presence in the English department, disappeared in the early 1980s during a period of financial crisis. But English professor and Governor General award-winning poet Roy Miki was recently motivated to revive the program because of “the surge of interest in creative writing among our students in the past five or six years.”

After securing funding from SFU and the Canada Council, the English department reinstituted the program in September.

Marlatt, a Vancouver-based writer whose work breaks down the boundaries between prose and poetry, is the author of several books including Touch to my Tongue, Ana Historic, and Steveston.

She has served as a teacher and writer-in-residence at many Canadian universities. According to Miki, she received “rave reviews” from students for the third-year creative writing course she taught last year at SFU.

During her nine-month tenure as writer-in-residence, Marlatt will work on a new poetry manuscript, lecture to university and high school classes where her work is being taught, read to high school writing students, and serve as a mentor to the Lower Mainland's community of emerging writers.

Marlatt stresses that the program is not limited to the SFU campus population: “Anyone who wants to can participate - but they should sign up soon, because my time is limited.”
Marlatt says she was “given a lot of support by older writers” when she started her writing career, and has “always found the generosity in the writing community to be quite extraordinary. It feels so good to be able to give something back.

“This is a good opportunity for anyone who has been writing for a while and who wants to get their work ready for publication to get professional feedback. In the past, I have found jewels among the manuscripts that have been shared with me. Some of those people have gone on to publish their work or to enter other writing programs.”

Writers can arrange a private consultation with Marlatt by calling 604-291-3136.

Writers must deliver a hard copy sample one week in advance of the meeting.

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