Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek

The SFU Department of English is proud to announce the appointment of Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek as the 2020 Ellen and Warren Tallman Writer in Residence.


A lively presence on Vancouver’s writing scene, Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek is an Acholi woman. Her 100 Days (University of Alberta 2016), a book of poetry that reflects on the meaning of memory two decades after the Rwanda genocide, was nominated for several writing prizes including the 2017 B.C. Book Prize, the Pat Lowther Award, the 2017 Alberta Book Awards, and the 2017 Canadian Authors Award for Poetry. It won the 2017 IndieFab Book of the Year Award for poetry and the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. Otoniya’s poem “Migration: Salt Stories” was shortlisted for the 2017 National Magazine Awards for Poetry in Canada. Her poem “Gauntlet” was longlisted for the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize and is the title of her most recent work, a chapbook from Nomados Press (2019). She completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia, in October 2019.  

Writing Consultations

Dr. Okot Bitek welcomes writers for online consultations. Interested writers should contact the English department to make an appointment. Email: englsec@sfu.ca Writers may submit between five and ten pages of poetry or prose. Within two weeks they will connect with Dr. Okot Bitek online for a one-on-one consultation about their work.

Launch and Reading: Writing Unpossessed

SFU Department of English is proud to announce:

Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek

2020 Ellen and Warren Tallman Writer-in-Residence

Reading and Conversation with Canisia Lubrin

Moderated by David Chariandy

Thursday, October 8, 2020 (7-8 p.m.)

Please join us for a virtual celebration of Dr. Okot Bitek's residency, a reading from her work, and lively conversation with Canisia Lubrin.

Please RSVP to the English department to participate in this event. Email: englcmns@sfu.ca

Photo Credit: Anna Keenan

Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin is a writer, critic, editor and teacher whose most recent book is The Dyzgrapxst (McClelland & Stewart, 2020) as seen in The New York TimesQuill & QuireJewish CurrentsHumber Literary Review, and elsewhere. Lubrin’s international publications include translations of her work into Spanish, Italian, French, and German. Her writing has been recognized by, among others, the Toronto Book Award, Journey Prize, Gerald Lampert, Pat Lowther, and the Writers Trust. Her debut, Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn, 2017), was named a CBC Best Book and her writing has and will appear  in RoomBrickJoylandPoetry LondonPoets.org, blackiris.co, and elsewhere. Lubrin’s debut collection of short fiction is forthcoming. She has an MFA from the University of Guelph.

David Chariandy

David Chariandy teaches contemporary literature, and specializes in Black, Caribbean, and Canadian fiction. He also teaches creative writing. His scholarly criticism has been published in journals, such as Callaloo, Transition MagazineThe Journal of West Indian LiteraturePostcolonial Text, The Global South, and Topia, as well as in academic books, such as The Routledge Companion to Caribbean Literature and The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature. He has co-edited three special issues of journals, most recently Transition Magazine 124 “Writing Black Canadas.” His first novel, entitled Soucouyant, was nominated for 11 literary awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award. His second novel entitled Brother won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Toronto Book Award, and the Ethel Wilson Book Prize, and was named a book of the year by The Globe and MailThe National PostThe Toronto Star, The New York City Public Library, Kirkus ReviewsEsquire Magazine, and The Guardian, among other periodicals and institutions. His latest work is of creative non-fiction entitled I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You: A Letter To My Daughter. David’s books have been published internationally and translated into several languages. He is a 2019 winner of Yale’s Windham-Campbell Prize for a body of fiction.

With Thanks
The Ellen & Warren Tallman Writer-in-Residence Program gratefully acknowledges generous support from the Shadbolt Endowment, Canada Council for the Arts, SFU's Dean of Arts and Social Sciences, SFU's Department of English, and the Ellen & Warren Tallman Endowment.

Past Writers-in-Residence:
2004/05 Daphne Marlatt
2005/06 Larissa Lai
2006/07 Fred Wah
2007/08 Wayde Compton
2008/09 Hiromi Goto
2009/10 Michael Turner
2010      Lisa Robertson

2011/12 Co-sponsored a series of literary events in collaboration with the Audain Gallery

2012/13 Marie Clements
2013/14 Madeleine Thien
2014/15 Rawi Hage
2015/16 Jordan Scott
2016/17 Cecily Nicholson
2017/18 Anakana Schofield
2018/19 Ivan Coyote
2019/20 Carleigh Baker

Writer-in-Residence Committee:
The Writer-in-Residence Committee has been established by the Department of English to work in consultation with the resident writer to design and coordinate their schedule of duties and activities. Committee members include Carolyn Lesjak (Department Chair), Clint Burnham, David Chariandy, Stephen Collis, Jeff Derksen, Sophie McCall, and a graduate student representative.