The University of Winnipeg (U of W) will host Garry Thomas Morse as he shares his literary knowledge and experience with students and community members in the city.
Morse will be hosted by the Carol Shields Writer in Residence Program, which is named after the Winnipeg writer and former U of W chancellor.
Morse, like the many writers in residence before him, will help writers hone their craft by reading and editing their work, sharing his own work during the inaugural reading at the beginning of his term and delivering the Carol Shields Distinguished Lecture at the end of his term.
Morse has recently completed a long poem about settler and Indigenous relations called Lexicon Standoff.
“I’m also putting the finishing touches on my forthcoming novel for Turnstone Press, Yams Do Not Exist, (the) Beckettish adventures of a lovelorn poet roving around Regina and Winnipeg,” he says.
Morse’s advice to young and inexperienced writers is not to be too preoccupied with getting published.
“The goals of publishers and published authors are not necessarily the same as the goals of writers trying to improve their craft,” he says. “Write what you want and need to write, not what you think other people want to hear.”
For writers with a little bit more experience, Morse also recommends they read more than they write.
“To start out with, it’s probably good to write as much as one can in many different ways. Later on, write less, but with more precision and care,” he says.
Nina McIntyre, a third-year creative writing student at U of W, is looking forward to the opportunity to meet with the writer in residence.
“As someone who wants to pursue writing, I think it’s really valuable to have (the perspective of) a professional writer, other than your professors who are going to come at it from a different point of view,” she says.
McIntyre says some of her most valuable learning experiences in writing have been through her creative writing classes and through her internship with Juice Journal last year.
McIntyre says students should be keen to seek out opportunities like this so they don’t miss out. She wasn’t as aware of the Writer in Residence Program as she would like to have been in previous years.
“I think you have to be an advocate for yourself, because nobody is going to seek out opportunities for you,” she says. “You have to seek them out for yourself.”
“Whether it’s a friend or a professor or a student group, building some kind of community where you can feel safe and free to share your work is very valuable,” McIntyre says.
She says a community like this holds writers accountable to keep producing creative work.
Morse’s inaugural reading will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 12:30 p.m. in 2M70. In his lecture at the end of his term on March 7, he says he will discuss experimental fiction and the novel. “Come learn how I write my weirdo books,” he says.
Published in Volume 73, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 24, 2019)