Winnipeg wordsmith

Anita Daher is passionate about writing, be it hers or someone else’s

Anita Daher is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. She’s charming, funny and strongly supportive of the Winnipeg writing community. 

When she’s not busy writing middle grade and teen fiction, she divides her time between other jobs in the lit industry. She leads workshops for young writers, answers industry questions from aspiring authors for the Writers Collective of Manitoba and works as teen fiction editor at Great Plains Publications. 

To some, all these jobs may seem overwhelming but Daher says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love every aspect of my life...writing, teaching, mentoring, editing, and the organizational work I do for the Collective,” Daher says. “Am I torn? Absolutely. Balancing doesn’t mean a thing when there aren’t enough hours in the day but that’s why I wake at 5 a.m. It’s also why I occasionally find myself tucked away in bed and breakfasts in faraway places. Self-guided retreats are a (catch-up) gift.”

All jobs aside, Daher still considers herself a writer first.

“I began as a full-time writer,” she says. “I had small children at home, and my husband’s work kept him moving from place to place, so after I left my first chosen career in aviation I had the choice of taking on a continuous stream of short-term work that was meaningless to me or to grow the career that has always been in my heart, writing. 

“I chose writing. It was something I didn’t have to say goodbye to each time we moved.” 

That decision has kept Daher busy since 1995 and as it is with most people, her time in the business has shifted her perspective.

“When I began writing, all I wanted was to be published. Now, I want to be remembered. Scratch that. I want my stories to be remembered.”

Thankfully, what time hasn’t changed is Daher’s gift to tell narrative in the teenage voice.

“I believe that every writer has an emotional age they most naturally slip into when creating characters and imagining their worlds,” says Daher. “For me, that age is most often between twelve and sixteen. This may or may not be because they are years with vivid memories. I dodged polar bears in Churchill, chased ptarmigan on the tundra with my best friend in Nunavut and suffered first loves and heartbreaks in Saskatoon.”

Although Daher is still busy writing middle grade and teen fiction, Monday, Oct. 21 sees the launch of Daher’s first picture book Itty Bitty Bits at McNally Robinson at 7 p.m. It’s something Daher says she’s really looking forward to.

“I am super excited about Itty Bitty Bits!. The key idea is that we can get anything done if we approach it ‘Itty bit bit by itty bitty bit’,” says Daher. “With all I take on, this has become my mantra over the years, and I am so happy to now share it. I can’t wait!”

Published in Volume 68, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 16, 2013)

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