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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 26, 2017
Canadian Excellence


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Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence

Laurier names Edna Staebler Laurier writer-in-residence

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Jul 4/14| For Immediate Release


Dr. Tanis MacDonald, Associate Professor
English and Film Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 ext. 2931 or


Lori Chalmers Morrison, Acting Director
Communications & Public Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 ext. 3067 or

WATERLOO – Sonnet L’Abbé, an award-winning poet and frequent Globe and Mail reviewer, has been chosen as the upcoming Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence. She will fulfill her term at Laurier from January to April, 2015. L’Abbé will be the third writer to hold the position, after the inaugural writer-in-residence Andrew Westoll in 2013, and the popular playwright and filmmaker Colleen Murphy in winter 2014.

L’Abbé is the author of two collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe (both published by McClelland and Stewart), as well as a poetry critic and the 2014 guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry. In 2000, she won the Bronwen Wallace Award for most promising writer under the age of 35. She is now at work on two new manuscripts, Sentient Mental Flower Book and Sonnet's Shakespeare, her third and fourth collections of poems.

L’Abbé has taught at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. She was also chosen to travel across the country for two months in 2013, as the artist-in-motion for the 2017 Starts Now initiative jointly hosted by CBC Radio-Canada, Community Foundations of Canada, and Via Rail. The 2015 Edna Staebler Laurier Residency also means a homecoming of sorts for L’Abbé, who grew up in Waterloo region.

L’Abbé was chosen from a pool of 21 applications for the residency from writers of all genres.

“We were glad to see such a wide diversity of genres from our applicants, and the field was very strong this year,” said Tanis MacDonald, associate professor in Laurier’s Department of English and Film Studies and chair of the selection committee. “We are especially glad to invite a poet to be our upcoming writer-in-residence, and are fascinated by the possibilities presented by Sonnet’s interests in botany and eco-critical writing. I see her being a real bridge to creative discussion between the arts and sciences at Laurier, as well as a bolster to our course offerings in writing and reading poetry, and in ecocritical literature.” 

Each year, the writer-in-residence acts as a resource to the Laurier community while pursuing individual writing projects, offering a portrait of a writer at work. During her term at Laurier, L’Abbé will give public lectures, provide one-on-one feedback to student writers and writers in the community, and conduct writing workshops.

The Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence position was established in 2012 by a bequest from the late Edna Staebler, prolific creative non-fiction writer and author of the very popular Schmecks series of books that celebrate the culture and cuisine of Waterloo region. A separate bequest from Staebler sponsors the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, awarded each year to a writer’s first or second book of creative non-fiction.


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