Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 5, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Headlines (Campus Updates)

Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction

Edna Staebler Award winner to speak and sign books at Laurier’s Waterloo campus

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Nov 8/10

Author John Leigh Walters, winner of the 2010 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, will read and sign copies of his book at an award presentation Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Paul Martin Centre.

Walters won the 2010 Edna Staebler Award for his memoir A Very Capable Life: The Autobiography of Zarah Petri (Athabasca University Press).

Walters reshapes the autobiographical impulse by writing in the first-person voice of his mother, the sweetly acerbic Zarah Petri. His use of Petri’s colloquial and engaging narration makes the book part oral history, part memoir and part re-imagination of the events of the twentieth century.

Speaking on behalf of this year’s Edna Staebler Award jury, Laurier associate professor Tanis MacDonald said, “Walters offers the story of his mother’s journey from Hungary to Canada as a feminine picaresque with the indomitable Zarah in the dual roles of heroine and storyteller. In recreating his mother as a resourceful and often hilarious character, Walters’ sustained act of literary ventriloquism captures the ingenuity and passion of the diasporic narrative in Canadian cultural history.”

Walters spent a lifetime writing, producing and hosting television programs in both the United States and Canada, most recently producing and hosting interview programs for CTV in Waterloo. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario, where in retirement he has turned his attention to writing memoir. A Very Capable Life is his first book.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Sondra Schwartz at 519-884-0710 ext. 3800 or

About the Edna Staebler Award

The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction was launched in 1991 and is administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award. The $10,000 award encourages and recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance.


View all Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction news
View all Laurier news