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Celebrated author Helen Humphreys to be UTSC’s next writer-in-residence

Canadian novelist, poet and nonfiction writer Helen Humphreys will be U of T Scarborough’s Writer-in-Residence for Fall 2015. (Photo by A. Tsabari)

Helen Humphreys, one of Canada’s most innovative and multi-talented novelists, poets and nonfiction writers, will be U of T Scarborough’s Writer-in-Residence for Fall 2015.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the young writers at UTSC and helping them to discover, and refine, their voices and to shape their work,” says Humphreys, an author of four books of poetry, seven novels and three works of creative non-fiction.

“I hope to inspire them to ascribe to a daily practice of writing and reading, which I feel is the foundation to life as a writer."

Humphreys is considered a literary innovator, especially in her creative nonfiction. Her 2007 book The Frozen Thames, which is a series of 40 stories inspired by the 40 times in history that the Thames River has frozen over, established her genre-bending reputation.

Throughout the semester Humphreys will visit classes, facilitate workshops, deliver readings including one hosted by the UTSC library on Oct. 8, consult with students on manuscripts-in-progress and work on her next creative project. She will cap off the semester with a reading from her acclaimed new book, The Evening Chorus.

On October 27, Humphreys will also host award-winning biographer Rosemary Sullivan on stage for a conversation about the rewards and challenges of “Writing a Life.” This will be the first-ever International Festival of Authors (IFOA) event held at UTSC. IFOA, which is Canada’s largest writers’ festival, brings authors from around the world to Toronto to discuss their craft.

“The writing community at UTSC is booming,” says Andrew Westoll, a lecturer in Creative Writing at UTSC and lead organizer of the Writer in Residence program.

“This partnership with IFOA will give our students even more opportunities to engage with professional authors and imagine themselves into their shoes, which can be crucial steps in the development of young writers.”

In addition to the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize, Humphreys has also won the City of Toronto Book Award and the Lambda Prize for Fiction. In 2009 she received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence. Her writing has been translated into many languages and optioned for film, television, and opera.

To learn more about the writer-in-residence program or explore ways Humphreys may contribute to your class or event, please contact Andrew Westoll at

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