The Importance of Writers in Residence

I can still remember my first visit to the WiR, how nervous I was (okay, terrified) and how they made me feel comfortable and more than that, capable to take on the task of writing and publishing.  So, to that WiR and the ones coming in 2014, I’d like to talk about the WiR program and why I think it’s an amazing service offered to writers.

First off, it’s a FREE program offered by the libraries of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Strathcona County.

The authors on board are professional and established, and have been in the industry for a while. They may not have all the answers you seek, but they’ll have a starting point for you and their information will be up to date.

The WiRs will offer programs that have relevance to you as a writer. They can help you avoid pitfalls and give you information you need to ignite your writing.

They will read excerpts of your work and give you suggestions and pointers to tighten your story.

As writers, we can be nervous about sharing our work or asking questions, we worry the pages aren’t good enough–that we’re not good enough–remember, though, the WiRs job is to listen and offer input…I guess what I’m saying is don’t let your nerves prevent you from using an amazing resource and doing everything you can to be the best writer you can be.

The residency will go on holiday break on December 15, 2013 then roll out again in January. Stay tuned to this blog and your community library for more information.

Past Writers in Residence include: (from

Linda Goyette – 2007 Writer in Residence

Linda Goyette is a passionate collector of Alberta’s stories. As Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library, she worked on an anthology of immigrants’ writing called The Story That Brought Me Here. While editing the book, she also compiled the Other Languages collection of the EPL.

Candas Jane Dorsey – 1990 Writer in Residence

(When asked about her favourite library experience): “When I was a kid it was a privilege to go into the adult library. I remember sitting in the gallery floor of the old downtown library watching through the majestic rounded windows as a storm swept down the river valley. I remember the teen section in the Strathcona library where I checked out the novel Ride Out the Storm to get me through a year of withstanding peer bullying. I remember sitting on the big rocks outside waiting for my family to finish checking out their big stacks of books. I remember the Idylwylde library when it was brand new. I would have to get my folks to check my books out on their adult card as kids were only allowed to take out three books at a time (must have been a baby boom thing, too few books to go around). After we had our books we’d go across the street to the Dominion store and buy fresh hot bread, then go home and eat hot bread with butter melting into it and read our new books–a Saturday tradition.”

Martin Godfrey – 1989 Writer in Residence

The Library’s writer-in-residence program featuring Martyn Godfrey from June 13 to December 5 was popular. Mr. Godfrey gave 109 manuscript consultations and critiqued 63 manuscripts to help aspiring writers achieve their goals as published writers, resulting in several new writers having their manuscripts scouted for publishers. He also gave readings and writing workshops attended by 506 people.

For more about previous Writers in Residence, head here.

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