Libraries name 2018 Writers in Residence

Darrin Hagen, Artistic Director of Guys In Disguise, taking up residence at EPL

For immediate release:

EDMONTON, AB,  November 15, 2017 – Aspiring and established writers alike can look forward to a year of learning, connecting and creating with playwright Darrin Hagen and author Michael Hingston, who have been named the 2018 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 fifth year, and 2017 writers David van Belle and Richard Van Camp will pass the torch with the change of the calendar year.

“Every year, the Writers in Residence each provide distinct knowledge and unparalleled experience,” said Pilar Martinez, CEO of EPL. “This program continues to support local writers, enhancing both their creativity and abilities, and EPL is looking forward to collaborating with Darrin Hagen.”

A playwright, actor, sound designer, composer, performer, director and TV host, Darrin Hagen is the Artistic Director of Guys In Disguise, currently celebrating three decades of drag comedies that have toured across North America. He has received seven Sterling Awards for his work in the Edmonton theatre scene, and over 40 nominations. His writing debut was the award-winning The Edmonton Queen in 1996, followed by Tornado Magnet: A Salute to Trailer Court Women. Hagen’s numerous creations have been produced across Canada, in the U.S. and as far away as Ireland.

“I’m beyond excited to meet and work with the diversity of creative voices that make up the Edmonton writing community – not only the writers I’m familiar with, but also those whose work I haven’t experienced yet,” said Hagen. ‘The streak of unique artistic creativity in our city has always impressed and inspired me, and I know I will learn so much by spending 2018 immersed in the imaginations of others.”

Hagen has been inducted into the Q Hall of Fame Canada and the Edmonton Queer Hall of Fame. In 2005 he was named one of 100 Edmontonians of the Century, and last year was named one of Alberta’s 25 Most Influential Artists in the last 25 years. He is currently working on a series of presentations that will illuminate the important histories of western Canada’s LGBTQ+ population.

As the regional Writer in Residence, Michael Hingston will split his time between Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Strathcona County, with multiple-month stints in each community. A journalist and best-selling author, his work has appeared in Wired, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Atlas Obscura, The Daily Beast, Hazlitt, Salon, The Walrus, and The Globe and Mail. He has written on topics including Roald Dahl, salt and why everything in Alberta is named after Winston Churchill. Hingston is also the co-founder of Hingston & Olsen Publishing, home of the Short Story Advent Calendar.

“Most writing happens when you’re alone in a room, but we all benefit from talking and sharing our work with others,” said Hingston. “I can’t wait to meet the great writers in these communities and help them produce something really special.”

Hingston’s first book, The Dilettantes, was published in 2013. His next book is about Calvin and Hobbes, and will be published by ECW Press in the spring of 2018.

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

Local writers can take advantage of workshops with both Writers in Residence, and will also have the opportunity to work with them one-on-one. Those who want to book some time with either Writer in Residence can visit in January 2018 to contact them.

On top of the Writers in Residence program, EPL offers Edmontonians a gathering place – both digitally and physically – for the exchange of ideas and education on the craft of writing through the Capital City Press initiative. Capital City Press showcases notable work from within the community, while also giving Edmontonians a chance to discover fantastic local talent and discuss their creations.

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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 16.9 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
Communications Specialist, Edmonton Public Library

Emily Paulsen
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