PROFile: Nora Decter

Contract Academic Staff, Department of English, U of W

Ten years ago, Nora Decter, an English instructor at the University of Winnipeg, was finishing up her undergraduate degree.

“It took me seven years,” she says. “I transferred three times between Canadian universities.”

Decter had known she had wanted to be a writer since childhood.

“I grew up in Winnipeg. I actually did my first year of university at U of W before transferring elsewhere, but I always loved reading, and writing seemed like a magical thing to do when you grew up. So ever since I was a little kid, that was what I wanted to do.”

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After finishing her creative writing degree at York University, Decter decided to set aside time for writing.

“The idea crossed my mind to sublet my apartment for the summer and go to my family’s cabin in the Whiteshell,” she says.

“They have a very nice cottage that nobody uses, kinda ramshackled, so I spent two or three months by myself out there – there was no internet – reading and writing. And then I repeated that three or four more years in a row.

“That’s how I developed my manuscript that then got me into grad school, which then turned into my first novel.”

Since then, Decter has written two young adult novels and started teaching at the U of W. Having met the goals she set out for herself, she’s proud of how far she’s come.

“I try to let my students know that writing might not be what your parents want you to say you wanna do when you grow up, but it’s possible.”

What's the best thing about your students?

“I’m constantly surprised with how open-minded my students are.”

What was your worst grade in university?

“I got one C in my seventh year … it was purely because I was just done.”

if you could talk to yourself from 10 year ago, what would you say?

“Oh boy. I would say don’t go into credit card debt, and that everything is going to be okay.”

Published in Volume 74, Number 24 of The Uniter (April 2, 2020)

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