Libraries name 2019 Writers in Residence

Matthew Stepanic, writer, poet and editor, taking up residence at EPL

For immediate release:

EDMONTON, AB,  November 15, 2018 – Lovers of the written and spoken word alike will be able to learn from and create alongside writer and poet Matthew Stepanic and poet Mary Pinkoski, who have been named the 2019 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 sixth year, and 2018 writers Darrin Hagen and Michael Hingston will pass the torch come the New Year.

“Everyone named to these roles brings with them unique contributions that prove to be invaluable to both established and aspiring writers,” says Pilar Martinez, CEO of EPL. “EPL is thrilled to have Matthew Stepanic with us over the next year, and we look forward to what he has in store for Edmontonians.”

Matthew Stepanic is the editor of Glass Buffalo, the poetry editor of Eighteen Bridges and a freelance writer. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Is Dead, The Fiddlehead, PRISM International, The New Quarterly and others. He is also the co-author of the collaborative novel Project Compass (Monto Books 2017), and the author of Relying on that Body (Glass Buffalo Publishing 2018), a poetry chapbook about RuPaul’s Drag Race.

In 2015, FITT named him one of the Top 3 Rising Stars in Media, and his poetry and writing have previously been nominated for Alberta Magazine Awards. Alongside Jason Purcell, Stepanic also manages Glass Bookshop, Edmonton’s newest bookstore that promises a curated reading life.

“Edmonton is filled with creative writers with a diverse range of experiences and writing styles, and I’m excited to act as a connector and advisor as I meet with many of them to discuss their work,” says Stepanic. “I’m looking forward to introducing them to the incredible local events and organizations that will help them hone and share their writing, and I can’t wait to draw on the talents of the city’s writers to host some special events and workshops.”

As the regional Writer in Residence, Mary Pinkoski will split her time between Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Strathcona County, with multiple-month stints in each community. Pinkoski, 5th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton (2013-2015), is an internationally-recognized poet. She has performed on stages across North America and at the 2015 Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland. Her work has appeared in multiple anthologies, and she is the 2011 Canadian National Spoken Word Champion and a winner of the 2008 CBC National Poetry Face-off.

In 2015, she was recognized as an Edmonton Top 40 Under 40 and also awarded a University of Alberta Alumni Horizon Award for her poetry work in the Edmonton community, in particular for facilitating poetry workshops and her creation of the City of Edmonton’s Youth Poet Laureate role. When not working on her doctorate at the U of A’s Faculty of Education, Pinkoski continues to perform across the country, and to provide dynamic and engaging workshops for writers of all ages and experiences across the province.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of being a writer, for me, is the ability to write within community: to share with each other, to learn from each other, to inspire each other to go to new and engaging places with our writing, and to be responsible to each other,” says Pinkoski. “I am looking forward to being very present within the libraries and within the communities – both geographic and demographic – that I will get to collaborate with.”

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 2019 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 15.4 million in-branch and online visits across our 21 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