Laurier designates Pasha Malla as the new writer in residence for 2017


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Pasha Malla will be joining the Wilfrid Laurier University campus this fall semester as Laurier’s new Edna Staebler Writer in Residence for the intensive residency program.

Malla is a well accomplished and recognized writer in numerous genres and formats, including novels, poetry, short stories and literary journalism, amongst others.

“[Pasha] is a young writer so I think that will help him to connect with students,” Jenny Kerber, assistant professor in Laurier’s Department of English and Film Studies and chair of the Edna Staebler Writer in Residence Committee said. “He is also very accomplished for his age and stage in his career.”

Malla has received various awards and recognitions, including the Trillium Book Award, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, amongst many others.

As writer in residence from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3, Malla will devote his time to both nurturing his personal career and spending time with students and the campus community.

“[Pasha] brings a diverse background … he sort of has that attention to diversity as well that I think will be good for Laurier,” Kerber said.

In terms of his personal career, Malla will be focusing on two main projects – a magic realist novel as well as a nonfiction book.

Aside from his own works, Malla hopes to get involved as much as possible with Laurier’s community of writers.

Kerber explained that a writer in residence will spend a significant amount of time helping students with creative writing projects of various genres, directing students towards resources that might help publish their work, visiting various classes and giving at least one public talk or workshop on campus.

“I think having been a student at a university with a writer in residence, I think my goal is really just to be as encouraging and – I hope – as inspiring as possible,” Malla said.

Most importantly, Malla hopes to motivate anyone who is interested in pursuing writing as a future career, something which he had experienced through meeting a Writer in Residence during his undergraduate degree.

“In high school I didn’t really know that being a writer was possible, so I think it’s nice to meet somebody who’s trying to make a go out of it as a living and dedicated their professional life to writing and literature and books,” Malla said.

Malla also feels that his experience as an educator at the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto and Brock University will also dictate how he will be able to provide encouragement and constructive criticism to the writers he meets with on campus.

“If you like [writing] and you find something in it that is valuable and you feel like it’s satisfying some instinct you have as a person then it’s worth pursuing. It can be a really great way to spend your time,” Malla said.

“I feel lucky to do what I do and I want to share that with other people.”

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