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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
December 5, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Edna Staebler, Friend of the University

Edna Staebler (1906–2006) was a member of the Order of Canada and an award-winning journalist. In 1991, she established the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, the only award of its kind in Canada. The $10,000 award, administered annually by Wilfrid Laurier University, recognizes a new Canadian writer whose work features a Canadian locale and/or significance.

Born in Kitchener (then Berlin), Ontario, Staebler began her writing career in mid-life, regularly contributing to magazines such as Maclean's, Chatelaine and Saturday Night. Her series of cookbooks – Food That Really Schmecks, Schmecks Appeal, and More Food That Really Schmecks – won her national attention. The Schmecks books are prime examples of creative nonfiction, in which storytelling and rich details entertain and inform the reader.

When Staebler died on September 12, 2006 at the age of 100, Laurier mourned the passing not only of a loyal supporter, but also a friend. The long and warm relationship between the author and the university culminated in a generous gesture – a bequest of more than $1 million to continue assisting developing writers at Laurier.

“Edna was a great believer in the value of writing and a supporter of the writing of others,” says Brian Henderson, director of Wilfrid Laurier University Press, which has published three of Staebler’s books.