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.  

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.

Video Gallery

1. An Interview with Wayde Compton, Writer-in-Residence 2007-2008

Professor Clint Burnham interviews Wayde Compton about his experience as writer-in-residence, his graphic novel, The Blue Road: A Fable of Migration, his upcoming projects, and much more.

2. A Video Montage of the Ellen & Warren Tallman Writers-in-Residence at SFU: 2004-2019