Libraries set to welcome 2016 Writers in Residence

Local writer, musician Wayne Arthurson setting up shop at EPL

For immediate release:

EDMONTON, AB,  Dec. 14, 2015 – Readers and writers alike can look forward to spending the next year learning from Wayne Arthurson and Marty Chan, who have been named the 2016 Metro Federation Writers in Residence.

The Metro Federation is a consortium of four libraries: Edmonton Public Library, St. Albert Public Library, Strathcona County Library and Fort Saskatchewan Public 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 just wrapping up its third year, and 2015 writers Elizabeth Withey and Gail Sidonie Sobat passed the torch at a celebration event on Monday, Dec. 14 at the University of Alberta Faculty Club.

Wayne Arthurson will call EPL home for the whole of 2016. He is an indigenous writer and musician and the author of nine books, including the bestselling Fall From Grace and A Killing Winter. In 2012, Fall From Grace, the first book in Arthurson’s Leo Desroches mystery series, won EPL’s $10,000 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.

“Edmonton is one of the great literary cities in the country and to be chosen the Writer in Residence for the Edmonton Public Library is a great honour,” said Arthurson. “I see part of my role as making connections with writers, not just through programs and critiquing sessions but through more informal ways. I hope to use the position as the Writer in Residence to support local and area writers in any way I can. Edmonton has a great community of connected writers but there is always the need to build more bridges.”

Along with books, Arthurson has written countless articles, appearing in newspapers and magazines across Canada and the United States. He grew up on army bases in Edmonton, Germany and Calgary, and studied journalism at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. As well as being an award-winning author, Arthurson is a longtime member of Edmonton’s music community and currently drums in a band called $1.49 Day.

As the regional Writer in Residence, Marty Chan will split his time between Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan and St. Albert, with multiple-month stints in each community. He is well known to Edmonton area audiences as a playwright, radio writer, television story editor and young adult author. His signature play, Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl, won an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Best New Work and the Adams Chinese Theatre Award at Harvard University. It has since been produced across Canada and received an Off Broadway production in New York.

"I'm over the moon to be picked as the Metro Writer in Residence," said Chan. "When I was starting out, I craved any tidbit that might help me get to the next stage of my career. If I could have talked to a writer in residence in my early days, I might have avoided the mistakes I made as I stumbled toward my dream of becoming a full-time writer. During my term as Metro Writer in Residence, my focus will be on playwriting and kid’s books, but I welcome the opportunity to meet any and all writers. I hope I can help them develop their craft and careers.”

Most recently, Chan’s novels for kids have been inspiring and entertaining reluctant readers. The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul won the 2007 Diamond Willow Award and was selected for EPL’s inaugural Kids Read Edmonton campaign. He can also be seen on CTV 2’s Alberta Primetime news and City TV’s Dinner Television, where he appears regularly as a panelist. Raised in Morinville, Chan has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Alberta.

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. Chan is planning to work on the third book in his Ehrich Weisz Chronicles series, as well as a second book in the Keepers of the Vault series. Arthurson, meanwhile, will be tackling two novels: the fourth in his award-winning Leo Desroches series and the second in a new historical crime series.

Local scribes can take advantage of numerous programs and workshops with both writers, and will also have the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with them. Those who want to book some time with either Writer in Residence can visit after January 4, 2016 to contact them.

“Each Writer in Residence brings their unique contributions to the role, and EPL is excited to see what Wayne Arthurson has in store for Edmontonians,” said Pilar Martinez, CEO of EPL. “Year after year, this program proves to be invaluable to both established and aspiring writers; it’s a pleasure to continue to feature such tremendous talent in Edmonton and surrounding area.”

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 19 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 serves the rapidly growing community of Fort Saskatchewan (pop. 24,000) through print and electronic collections, creative technologies, and a significantly expanded range of programming. We welcome visitors to experience our transformation into a modern 17,000 square foot library with larger collections, more public access computers, larger study areas, and more comfortable reading and social areas for library users of all ages.

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 330,000 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 1,000 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