2015 Writer in Residence



The Metro Federation of Libraries (Edmonton Public Library, Strathcona County Library, St. Albert Public Library and Fort Saskatchewan Library), will soon be accepting applications from Edmonton and area writers for two positions as Writers in Residence for the period of January 2 to December 31, 2016. More information can be found on the Call for Applications posting.

The Edmonton Public Library's Writer in Residence program provides services to aspiring and established writers in the Edmonton area including individual manuscript consultations, public readings and talks, information on the publishing process and connections to the writing community.

The Writer in Residence (WIR) also hosts a monthly Writers' Corner at various EPL branches. These sessions bring together writers of all abilities to talk about their writing, listen to guest speakers, and provide support and encouragement to each other.

EPL is extremely excited to welcome Elizabeth Withey as our 2015 Writer in Residence!

All about Elizabeth

Elizabeth Withey will call the Edmonton Public Library home for the year. A staff writer for the Edmonton Journal for nearly 11 years, her work has also appeared in newspapers across Canada, well as in magazines and literary journals including Alberta Views, Geist, Eighteen Bridges, Room and Avenue Magazine.

Withey grew up in Saskatchewan and has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford. She studied writing at the University of Victoria before moving to Edmonton in 2004. Aside from being an award winning writer, Withey is an advanced yoga practitioner and certified ashtanga instructor, and is also fluent in German, French and Spanish.

To contact Elizabeth, email her at ewithey@epl.ca, or call her at 780-496-5999. You can also check out her website at http://elizabethwithey.com or her art experiment at http://frockaroundtheclock.tumblr.com.

Her office hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Sorted by Date:


SHORT & SWEET: An afternoon short fiction workshop with P.J. Worrell


Would you like to try your hand at short fiction?
Are you an emerging writer eager for new learning?
Do you have ideas that are itching to get onto the page?
At this workshop, you will be offered writing tips and excercises, and you will begin a new story or revise a work-in-progress.
Please bring:

  • A story (or paragraph) of your own
  • A story you love by another author
  • A writing pad and pen or pencil or a laptop or an iPad
  • One vegetable or fuit

P.J. Worrell  is the author of the short story collection Proudflesh (Thistledown), which was a finalist at the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards in both the Book of the Year and Best First Book categories. Worrell grew up on a Saskatchewan farm and has worked for more than 40 years as a social worker in the areas of mental health and geriatrics. She lives in Swift Current.  

WhenSaturday September 19, 2015 at 2pm to 5pm (duration 3hrs)
WhereJasper Place Library - Program Room
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

Past Events:


From Writer to Author: A Talk on Self-Publishing


Interested in publishing your finished manuscript or daunted by the difficult task of getting published once you finish your masterpiece? Join acclaimed novelist Thomas Wharton and Faces of Edmonton creator Shayne Woodsmith for a conversation on self-publishing. These two writers will discuss their experiences with, the process of, and what challenges with preparing a story for self-publication. 

Thomas Wharton is author of seven books of fiction, including The Perilous Realm trilogy. He has been a finalist for many major literary prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and recently self-published his latest novel, Every Blade of Grass, through CreateSpace. Shayne Woodsmith is the author of two self-published novels and the creator of the Faces of Edmonton storytelling project.

WhenTuesday February 3, 2015 7PM
WhereStanley A. Milner Library - Makerspace
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

But That's Just My Opinion

We all have opinions about all kinds of things. But how do you write a persuasive essay or on-line rant that gets beyond mere sound and fury? Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons (@paulatics) talks about techniques good writers can use to get beyond the empty JMO rhetoric.

WhenSunday, February 22, 2015 2pm
WhereJasper Place Branch

This is a free event. No registration is required.


Life After The Giller

In November 2013, Edmonton author Lynn Coady won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection, Hellgoing. What's life been like since for the novelist, journalist, and newly minted screenwriter? Join Coady for a Q&A with Elizabeth Withey, the Edmonton Public Library's Writer In Residence. Coady will also read from Hellgoing.

WhenWednesday, March 11, 2015 7pm
WhereStanley A. Milner Library (Program Room)
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

Book of the Year

EPL Writer in Residence Elizabeth Withey will sit down with acclaimed author Patrick DeWitt to discuss his novel, The Sisters Brothers, which is Grant MacEwan's 2015 Book of the Year.

Join us in supporting Edmonton's Food Bank by bringing a non-perishable food item. 

WhenTuesday, March 17, 2015 7:30p.m.
WhereMacEwan University
City Centre Campus
Robbins Health Learning Centre, first floor
109 street and 104 ave
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

Not Just the Facts: Spinning Stories from History, Memoir, and Journalism

In this engaging session, EPL Writer in Residence Elizabeth Withey sits down for a fireside chat with Historian Laureate Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, author of Polar Winds and For the Love of Flying,to discuss their wide-ranging experiences of researching and writing nonfiction. From interviews to oral histories, personal essay to popular history, they will share tips and tricks and a lot of hard-won knowledge. This will be followed by a short private tour of the Heritage Reading Room.

WhenSunday, March 29, 2015 2pm
Where Stanley A. Milner Library (Program Room)
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

Writers Corner with Jacqueline Baker and Angie Abdou

Meet two talented Canadian novelists who have relocated to Edmonton. Jacqueline Baker and Angie Abdou have a lot in common: they've both moved here recently from smalltown B.C., they've both won prizes for their fiction, and they are both teaching writing at the post-secondary level in our city. Lucky us! Join us for this Q&A with EPL Writer-In-Residence Elizabeth Withey. 

Angie Abdou is the author of four books, including Canada Reads finalist The Bone Cage. Her most recent novel, Between, was chosen as a Best of 2014 book by Prism Magazine, 49th Shelf, and The Vancouver Sun. Angie is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University.

Jacqueline Baker is the author of A Hard Witching & Other Stories, The Horseman's Graves, and her most recent novel, The Broken Hours. She has also edited and introduced Shadowmen,  a collection of HP Lovecraft stories. She has won the City of Edmonton Book Prize, the Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Fiction, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers Trust Prize. She has mentored writers at the Banff Centre for the Arts and currently teaches literature and creative writing at MacEwan University.

WhenThursday, May 7, 2015 7pm
Where Stanley A. Milner Library (Edmonton Room)
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

Writing for Children and Teens with Rita Feutl and Karen Spafford-Fitz

In this 90-minute presentation, local children's book authors Rita Feutl and Karen Spafford-Fitz will tag-team with tips and tricks for writing for children of different ages. Rita will show key differences between her successful and rejected picture book pitches, and offer 10 ideas for how to get a picture book started. Karen will outline the characteristics of chapter books including early readers, middle-grade, and YA as well as discussing what is, or isn't, age apporpriate for certain ages, as well as popular themes from loss and social acceptance to independence and inclusion.

Rita Feutl is the author of numerous children's books, including The Bike Thief, Room Enough for Daisy, and Rescue at Fort Edmonton. She wrote her first story at age seven. She has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a post-graduate diploma in teaching English as a second language from the University of Alberta. 

Karen Spafford-Fitz is the author of two middle-grade novels: Vanish, and Dog Walker. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from Queen's University, and spent numerous years teaching elementary and junior high school.

WhenWednesday, June 24, 2015 7pm
Where Lois Hole Library (Program Room)
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

In Conversation with the 2015 Alberta Readers' Choice Award Finalists

Get to know the 2015 Alberta Readers' Choice Award finalists at the engaging, interactive panel discussion hosted by EPL Writer-In-Residence Elizabeth Withey. Four of the five authors on the shortlist will be in attendance: Kate A. Boorman (Winterkill), Ted Bishop (The Social Life of Ink), Sigmund Brouwer (Thief of Glory), and Rudy Wiebe (Come Back). Fred Stenson (Who by Fire) is unable to attend. This event is free. 

WhenMonday, July 13, 2015 7pm
Where Jasper Place Library (Program Room)
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

Speculative Fiction: Worldbuilding with Kate A. Boorman & SG Wong

When it comes to the broad genre known as "Speculative Fiction", one of the most basic building blocks is worldbuilding. Whether the story takes place in a distant future among the stars, in a magical past of sorcery and swords, or in a re-imagined present with otherworldly creatures - or anything in between and beyond - speculative fiction demands a solid grounding in a believable world. Join local authors Kate A. Boorman and SG Wong in a lively discussion about creating imaginary worlds, built from research as much as from flights of fancy. Find out some pitfalls to avoid and some tips to try in creating your own stories. 

Kate A. Boorman is an artist and writer living in Edmonton, Alberta. She was born in Nepal and grew up in the small town of Rimbey, Alberta. Her debut YA novel, Winterkill (Amulet/Abrams), is one of five finalists for the 2015 Alberta Readers' Choice Award (presented by the Edmonton Public Library). Kate's pastimes include sitting under starry skies with friends and traveling to far-off lands with her husband and two children. Find her online at kateaboorman.com

SG Wong writes alternate-history, hard-boiled detective fiction-with ghosts. She was a finalist for a 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing and holds a B.A. (Honours) in English Literature from the University of Alberta. She has been a panelist/moderator at such diverse events as Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo, Bloody Words XIII, When Words Collide, PureSpec, and Words in 3D 2015. Find her online at sgwong.com

WhenWednesday, July 22, 2015 7pm
Where Jasper Place Library (Meeting Room)
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

MEET THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE MILK COME OUT OF YOUR NOSE! An evening with Edmonton's home-grown sketch comedy writers


Three of Edmonton's funniest and sketchiest minds - Neil Grahn, Peter Brown and Jana O'Connor - talk about turning their daily lives and random thoughts into popular sketch comedy, and discuss their writerly moments from The Irrelevant Show,Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, and more. Hosted by 2015 EPL Writer-In-Residence Elizabeth Withey.

Peter Brown was the long-time host of CBC Edmonton’s drive-home show Radio Active. These days he produces the sketch comedy program The Irrelevant Show, which is recorded in Edmonton and airs nationally on CBC Radio One. He also performs in Die Nasty and enjoys writing about himself in the third person. 

Neil Grahn’s background in comedy is chock full of good stuff. He began his comedy career with a goofy little sketch troupe called Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. He has written and directed for Comics! on CBC and could be heard debating this past season on The Debaters. In his spare time he enjoys writing and directing comedy/reality TV series like Fish Out of Water and Canadian Pickers. He is presently writing and performing for CBC Radio’s The Irrelevant Show.

Jana O’Connor is an Edmonton-born performer, producer, theatre instructor, and playwright.  Jana is also a cast member/writer on the national CBC Radio sketch comedy show, The Irrelevant Show. In June 2010, she was awarded a 2010 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award for her work as a playwright. 

WhenThursday September 10, 2015 at 7pm
WhereStanley A. Milner Library - Theatre
CostThis is a free event. No registration is required.

Frequently asked questions

1. Do you give feedback on anyone’s writing? Do I have to be published?

2. How do I send something to you?

3. Do we have to talk in person about my work?

4. Do I have to give you writing? Can I just come by to talk about semi-colons or fonts?

5. My writing is too awful to show you. Can I come just to talk about writing?

6. What kind of feedback will you give me?

7. Will you help me get published?

8. Should I send my whole novel?

9. When should I come to see you?

1. Do you give feedback on anyone’s writing? Do I have to be published?
Yes, my job is to give feedback on creative writing in all genres. New, unpublished writers are especially welcome to send material.


2. How do I send something to you?
You can contact me at writerinresidence@epl.ca. Or, you can leave your writing in an envelope at the main desk of the Stanley A. Milner Library.


3. Do we have to talk in person about my work?
No. If you prefer, I can give you feedback online or by phone.


4. Do I have to give you writing? Can I just come by to talk about semi-colons or fonts?
By all means, come by to chat or make an appointment. No, you do not have to bring writing!


5. My writing is too awful to show you. Can I come just to talk about writing?
Sure, you can come to talk about any aspect of writing. The conversation will be much more relevant to YOUR writing, though, if we can talk about that. Trust me: first drafts are always dreadful. It’s terribly embarrassing to hand them over, but if you’re stuck—do it! (I’m guessing you’re a tad overcritical.)


6. What kind of feedback will you give me?
What kind would you like? If you would like me to focus on, say, character development, I will. Or, if you want a more general critique, that’s fine too. We’ll talk about what will be most helpful for you.


7. Will you help me get published?
I’ll be happy to share what I know about the publishing process, but, no, connecting you to a publisher is not part of my role.


8. Should I send my whole novel?
No! I won’t have time to read nearly all of it. Here are my submission guidelines:

  • Fiction, non-fiction, scripts: maximum of 10 double-spaced pages
  • Poetry: 5 short (one-page) poems


9. When should I come to see you?
The best thing to do is email me at writerinresidence@epl.ca to set up an appointment. My office hours will be posted here after the new year. You’re welcome to drop by then, but I might be busy with other writers.

Get in touch with me

You can email Elizabeth at ewithey@epl.ca or phone her at 780.496.5999.

Visit her website at http://elizabethwithey.com and check out her art experiment at http://frockaroundtheclock.tumblr.com.

Her office hours are 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Drop-ins are accepted; however, it’s best to email or call ahead to ensure she's not out with another client.

Elizabeth Withey / Writer in Residence
c/o Stanley A. Milner Library
7 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB   T5J 2V4

Submission Guidelines:

  • Fiction, non-fiction, scripts: maximum of 10 double-spaced pages
  • Poetry: 5 short (one-page) poems

You are seeing double!

For the third year, EPL is pleased to be working with our partners in the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries on a regional program that offers not one, but two Writers in Residence working throughout Edmonton and area.

EPL along with the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library, St. Albert Public Library and Strathcona County Library welcome Elizabeth Withey and Gail Sidonie Sobat as the 2015 Metro Federation Writers in Residence.

Elizabeth will be the EPL Writer in Residence, based at the Stanley A. Milner Library, and will dedicate her time to working with Edmonton’s writing community. Gail, meanwhile, will split her time between the regional libraries.

Find out more about Gail Sidonie Sobat at http://metrowir.com/gail-sidonie-sobat/