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Established in 1996 by acclaimed author and library advocate Edna Staebler, the Writer-in-Residence program is intended to provide local writers with the expertise needed to develop their craft, as well as encouragement to "keep at it".
Thanks to Edna Staebler's generous financial endowment, we are able to invite Canadian authors of significance to participate in the program. Each author provides a series of workshops at our libraries that are open to the public. During the program, local writers are invited to apply to have their work reviewed by the Writer-in-Residence.
2020 Writer in Residence
Kamal Al-Solaylee is the author of the national bestselling memoir Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, which won the 2013 Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for the CBC’s Canada Reads, the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction and the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction.
His second book, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to everyone), was hailed as “brilliant” by The Walrus and “essential reading” by the Globe and Mail. It was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction, the Trillium Book Award and won the Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Brown is reported from ten different countries, including Canada. Both books draw on his skills as a storyteller and ability to synthesize complex social and political issues into accessible narratives.
His ten years as a theatre critic, first at Eye Weekly and then at the Globe and Mail, honed his sense of drama. He has written reviews and features on film, television and culture for all major Canadian publications, including Toronto Star, National Post, The Walrus, Toronto Life, Chatelaine, Elle Canada, the Literary Review of Canada and Quill & Quire.
Kamal holds a PhD in English Literature from Nottingham University and is a professor of journalism and creative nonfiction at Ryerson University. He was the 2018 Jury Chair for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and has served as a juror for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award as well as CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize. In 2019 he was one of three finalists for the Allan Slaight Prize for Journalism and the winner of the Gold Medal at the National Magazine Awards for his column “Point of Departure” in Sharp magazine.