October 31, 2008


An evening with the authors
Writers gather to support writers-in-residence program

Hamilton, Ont. Oct. 31, 2008—Lawrence Hill still remembers the feeling, many years ago, of approaching a writer-in residence about his work.


“It was in Toronto in the early 1980s, and I was working on a very bad collection of short stories that was, thankfully, never published,” he recalls. “But that act of sharing your work for the first time, of declaring yourself a writer, it takes great courage.”


Hill, who is McMaster University’s writer-in-residence, will join past holders of that post—John Terpstra and Petronila Cleto—at a public reading aimed at raising money for the writer-in-residence program.


The event takes place on Tuesday, November 4 at 7 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 150 King Street East, Hamilton. Tickets are $30, and are available at the door or by calling 905-525-9140 ext. 23900.


Hill, who lives in Burlington, is the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize winner for the best-selling The Book of Negroes. Cleto, a poet and playwright from the Philippines, is a member of PEN Canada’s writer-in-exile program. John Terpstra is poet and Governor-General’s Award nominee. His latest book is Two or Three Guitars.  Both Cleto and Terpstra are past writers-in-residence at McMaster.


Daniel Coleman, professor in McMaster’s Department of English and Cultural Studies, says the writer-in-residence program has been running for 10 years. However, with Canada Council funding on shaky ground these days, alternate sources of funding are needed.


“It’s an amazing program that brings excellence in Canadian literature to the University and to Hamilton at large,” says Coleman. “It develops local talent and puts the McMaster and local communities in touch with some of the most exciting writing being produced in Canada today. There are as many writers from the community consulting with the writer-in-residence as there are writers doing so from within the University.”


 “Aspiring writers who come to me and who ask me to read their creative writing want me to be truthful and direct,” Hill says. “So my challenge is to be honest but gentle, critical but supportive. I try to walk that line carefully, and to encourage twice as much as I criticize. And another thing I’ve found is that not everyone aspires to be a professional writer. Some write for stimulation or for the sheer joy of expression.”


McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 135,000 in 128 countries.




For more information please contact:


Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext 27988



Michelle Donovan

Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext 22869