Libraries name 2017 Writers in Residence

Playwright and theatre creator David van Belle taking up residence at EPL

For immediate release:

EDMONTON, AB,  November 24, 2016 – Creative minds interested in everything from playwriting and film to children’s books and graphic novels can look forward to a year of opportunity with David van Belle and Richard Van Camp, who have been named the 2017 Metro Federation Writers in Residence.

The Metro Federation is a consortium of four libraries: Edmonton Public Library, Fort Saskatchewan Public Library, St. Albert Public Library and Strathcona County Library. Each is a partner in this venture and will play host to a Writer in Residence over the coming 12 months.

The Metro Federation Writer in Residence program is wrapping up its fourth year, and 2016 writers Wayne Arthurson and Marty Chan will pass the torch at a celebration event on Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Strathcona County Library.

“Each Writer in Residence brings something wonderfully unique to the role, and EPL is anticipating many fun and innovative initiatives from David van Belle, EPL’s Writer in Residence,” said Pilar Martinez, CEO of EPL. “This program continues to expand both the minds and abilities of writers from all walks of life and with a variety of interests, helping established writers as well as those just getting started.”

Born in Amsterdam and raised all over Canada, David van Belle is a relative newcomer to Edmonton and will call EPL home for the whole of 2017. He is a playwright, director, actor and theatre deviser who has been Co-Artistic Director of Ghost River Theatre, an ensemble member of One Yellow Rabbit and playwright-in-residence at Alberta Theatre Projects.

“It’s an honour to be able to set up shop at the Edmonton Public Library,” said van Belle. “I’m looking forward to digging into Edmonton’s exciting writing and theatrical community. I’m fascinated by people’s lives and the ways in which they live them – and I know there are many stories in this city that can be told many ways.”

van Belle has created such works as BUZZ JOB! The True Story of Cal Cavendish with Kris Demeanor and The Invisible Project during a month-long residency at Calgary’s largest homeless shelter. He is also a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award, several Betty Mitchell awards and numerous other citations, as well as being a multiple nominee for the Gwen Pharis Ringwood prize in playwriting.

As the regional Writer in Residence, Richard Van Camp will split his time between Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Strathcona County, with multiple-month stints in each community. An internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author, he is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. His work, which includes baby books, children’s books, comic books, graphic novels and films, has been translated into a variety of Indigenous languages and adapted for the screen.

“I’m thrilled to be this gypsy of a mentor who can help out in several locations during my residency,” said Van Camp. “I’m over the moon for this opportunity to share my 20 years’ experience with writers who want to hone their craft.”

Van Camp wrote for CBC’s North of 60 under their Writer Internship Program, and was a script and cultural consultant for four seasons. He taught creative writing and storytelling at both the University of British Columbia and the Emily Carr Institute. He has been a Writer in Residence before – spending 2011 with the University of Alberta and 2013-2014 with MacEwan University. Van Camp is currently shooting the movie Three Feathers in his hometown in each of the official languages of the South Slave Region: Dene, Bush Cree, South Slavey and English.

While in residence, each writer will devote roughly half their time to mentoring other writers and the other half to working on personal writing projects.

Local scribes can take advantage of numerous programs and workshops with both writers, and will also have the unique opportunity to work with them one-on-one. Those who want to book some time with either Writer in Residence can visit after Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 to contact them.

For more information, visit


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About the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries
The Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries consists of: Edmonton Public Library, St. Albert Public Library, Fort Saskatchewan Public Library and Strathcona County Library. Libraries in the federation collaborate on programs, projects and events, share methods to help customers learn to use eReaders and download eBooks, and support the Edmonton International Literacy Festival (LitFest) by contributing ideas and hosting events at their venues.

About the Edmonton Public Library
The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is proud to be 2014 Library of the Year! We’ve come a long way since 1913 when books were all you could find on our shelves… and we’re just getting started! Today, EPL carries everything you care about. We are Edmonton’s largest lender of all manner of information and entertainment. Our professionally trained staff take you beyond Google with the knowledge, discernment and desire to help you navigate a universe of information. The second most visited place in Edmonton, every year EPL hosts over 14 million in-branch and online visits across our 20 branches and website. We deliver our incredible content to you everywhere – in the library, at home or on your handheld device. Unmatched access and unrivalled value – that is today’s EPL. EPL is a registered charity and relies on donations to enhance services. Spread the words.

About Fort Saskatchewan Public Library: Fort Saskatchewan Public Library is open, bright, and full of activity! Serving a population of over 24,000 (and growing!) FSPL is a place for children, youth, adults, and seniors to engage in a variety of interactive programs and activities. From finding your perfect next read to our innovative Makerspace, FSPL is a space for everyone. Not only do we provide resources and programs for learning and development, we are also a place to meet friends, relax, and to enjoy being a part of the community.

About St. Albert Public Library: St. Albert Public Library is a vital part of the community, consistently rated as one of the key strengths of the city. It is a place where people learn, meet and share ideas, and enjoy leisure time. Community is at the core of St. Albert Public Library, working to improve citizens’ lives through core services focused on learning, leisure and community life — the Library cultivates community, as important for what it does, as for what it has. Over 340,000 people visit in-person each year and even more visit our website. It is one of the busiest mid-sized libraries in Canada, and the most visited place in downtown St. Albert. Patrons borrowed over 1,000,000 items last year and attended over 1,200 programs.

About Strathcona County Library: Strathcona County Library is located in the heart of Sherwood Park but serves the entire Strathcona County, an area of 1,265 square kilometres, through the services of a Bookmobile and a partnership with Fort Saskatchewan Public Library. In November 2010, we opened the doors to our newest home in the Strathcona County Community Centre. Spread out over 64,000 square feet on two floors, our main branch houses a 200,000+ collection that includes books, eBooks, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, newspapers, magazines and databases. We also host several hundred programs each year, ranging from early literacy development with infants to travel insurance for seniors. Strathcona County Library – your place for literacy, learning and leisure.

For more information, contact:

Heather McIntyre
Marketing Communications Specialist, Edmonton Public Library

Stacey Wenger
Public Services Librarian, Fort Saskatchewan Public Library

Julie Collison
Communications and Fund Development Coordinator, St. Albert Public Library

Sally Neal
Communications Specialist, Strathcona County Library