Nationally bestselling, award-winning author Donna Morrissey joins Laurier community for winter 2023

Photo of a Laurier campus building
Photo of a Laurier campus building
Photo by Sadiya Teeple

Acclaimed writer, Donna Morrissey, is Laurier’s Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence for the winter 2023 term.  

“She’s kind of a force of nature, this funny and fascinating kind of woman who has emerged on the Canadian Literature writing scene like she was shot out of a cannon,” said Tanis MacDonald, Associate Professor in the faculty of English and Film studies and member of the Writer-in-Residence committee.  

The Writer-in-Residence program was  established through a bequest from the late Canadian writer, Edna Staebler. 

“Every year, a committee chooses a working writer to come and spend ten weeks at Laurier and they are the Writer-in-Residence,” said MacDonald. “The idea there is that a writer receives an opportunity to come to Waterloo and work with Laurier students and writers in the community.”  

The chosen writer in residence functions within two fields.  

The responsibilities are to spend 60 per cent of their time writing their own work, this is absolutely what Edna Staebler wanted … 40 per cent of the time they do things in the community,” said MacDonald. “It’s different from being a professor, they’re not teaching … they are not grading the students, they are talking with them like a writing professional.”  

From Canada’s East Coast, Morrissey is a multiple-award winning author of seven novels and two screenplays.

I just want everybody to have real, hands-on tools that they can use when they’re doing their own writing – because everything that I am going to talk about and teach is directly applicable, you can go home and just start applying it.

Donna Morrissey

“[The Writer-in-Residence program] is a great resource and I really encourage everyone to come and talk to Donna … I think she’s a really good person to talk to about the possibilities there are to be a writer,” said MacDonald.  

Morrissey will stay in Waterloo for the duration of the residence.  

“I really want to experience Ontario and to be in the university setting around students because next to writing, teaching is what I love best, so this was a perfect program for me,” said Morrissey.  

Throughout the term at Laurier, Morrissey will adhere within the two fields of responsibility.  

“I’m excited to start [the] new work that this program is allowing me to do. It is giving me time and a place to write,” said Morrissey. “The goal for me is to really become involved in this new novel that I’m starting, I want to get a real firm grip onto this book.”  

Morrissey also touched on involvement concerning the Laurier student body.  

“I’m excited to put on some workshops, do some readings and introduce my work,” Morrissey said.  

“I just want everybody to have real, hands-on tools that they can use when they’re doing their own writing – because everything that I am going to talk about and teach is directly applicable, you can go home and just start applying it.” 

Resources provided by the writer in residence are available university wide. “It is really a resource for anyone in the university who is interested in writing,” said MacDonald.  

Morrissey’s residence will begin on Jan. 16, 2023.  

“Be kind. I’m a little shy … I’m in your hood so please greet me with a smile,” said Morrissey .  

“I’m just really excited to come and to be there … just to be in the university atmosphere again. It’s inspiring to even be thinking about it,” said Morrissey. 

More information on the Writer-in-Residence program can be found on the university’s website. 

“…I would tell students in finding out a little bit more about the program, [Morrissey is] going to be giving a public talk, we’ll be holding a reception for Donna on January 26,” said MacDonald.

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