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Carol Shields’ Legacy Lives on

The University of Winnipeg Foundation


Carol Shields’ legacy preserved through The Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence
Written by Foundation staff
- With files from Tyler Andrade


Veralyn WarkentinPlaywright, director and fiction writer Veralyn Warkentin has never forgotten the generosity and unrelenting support she received from internationally acclaimed author Carol Shields.

“I met Carol Shields when she was the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Winnipeg back in the ‘80s.” said Warkentin. “I was a student in Honours English and I had never really written much before, but we had Carol as the Writer-in-Residence, so I took her my poems. Carol was so encouraging! She taught me to write about my everyday experience, and to write about everything around me.”

Warkentin, who also works at The University of Winnipeg as the Assistant to the Dean of the Gupta Faculty of Kinesiology & Applied Health, was inspired by the encouragement she received from Carol as a student and has spent the last two years volunteering her time to help raise money in support the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence Program.

Originally funded by the Shields’ family, the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence at The University of Winnipeg relies on donations made by friends of the Residency, including Veralyn’s mom, Elvira Warkentin, who remembers the support Carol showed her daughter early in her career.

With the help of Carol’s numerous writer friends throughout Winnipeg, Veralyn began the Writers Edge Workshops which first ran in January 2014 and continued into 2015 raising over $5,000 for the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence. These workshops featured instruction by: Marjorie Anderson; Deborah Schnitzer; Dave Williamson; Margaret Shaw-Mackinnon; and Joan Thomas and many other local talents.

“When I discovered the Writer-in-Residence needed funding, I knew I could rally Carol’s writer friends for help. We all want to keep it running.”

This November, Warkentin is organizing a “New Year’s GOALS Raffle” which could earn another $5,000 on behalf of the Residency. The raffle prize, valued at over $800, includes a signed Jets jersey, tickets to the New Years’ Eve Jets game, Team Signed Manitoba Moose Jersey and New Year’s Day game tickets and more (click here to see full list of prizes). Tickets will be available in the Riddell Atrium from November 15 – 30 or by contacting c.doyle@uwinnipeg.ca. This isn’t the first time Warkentin has used Jets tickets on behalf of the Program. At a UWinnipeg Foundation Faculty and Staff Campaign celebration, Warkentin auctioned off a door prize of Jets tickets she had won for a $1,000 donation to the Residency.

Says Brian Daly, President and CEO of The University of Winnipeg Foundation, “we deeply appreciate the generosity of Veralyn, her family as well as the work of the numerous volunteers which help with Veralyn’s fundraising initiatives. Their unwavering commitment is a true testament to the impact Carol left on both UWinnipeg, and the greater writing community.”

When asked to explain the value of a Writer-in-Residence program at UWinnipeg Warkentin said, “There is nothing more valuable than hearing other people read your words aloud, and getting feedback from other writers. I will always remember how it felt to speak with Carol in person, you felt like you were the only person in the room — in the world. She was an exceptional listener which no doubt helped to make her such a phenomenal writer.”  

If you would like to make a gift to the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence Program, please contact Cindy Doyle, by email at c.doyle@uwinnipeg.ca or by phone at 204.988.7509.

Each year, UWinnipeg welcomes a professional writer to campus as the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence. Through mentorship and community engagement, the program inspires writers to explore their own gifts with words in memory of Carol’s tremendous love for writing and for the writing community.


NEW YEAR’S GOALS PRIZE DRAW
Reading, writing and . . . hockey stats! Calling all sports fans and fans of creative writing on campus: take part in the “New Year's GOALS” (Winnipeg Jets/ Manitoba Moose) Prize Raffle in support of the Carol Shields' Writer-in-Residence Program.

The New Year's GOALS prize package (valued at $800) includes:

  • Autographed Brian Little Winnipeg Jets jers
  • Two tickets to the Winnipeg Jets vs. NY Islanders game on New Year's Eve at MTS Centre
  • Dinner for two at Centre Plate, MTS Centre ($100 Gift Certificate)
  • $15 Tim Horton's gift card (to help you wake up on New Year's Day)
  • Two tickets to the Manitoba Moose vs. Charlotte game on New Year’s Day at MTS Centre
  • Team-signed Manitoba Moose jersey and other goodies!  

Raffle tickets are $5 each (only 1,000 tickets printed) and will be sold from November 15-30 (12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. in the Atrium, Main Floor Centennial); or by contacting Cindy c.doyle@uwinnipeg.ca; Veralyn, v.warkentin@uwinnipeg.ca; or Lynn, l.jones@uwinnipeg.ca 

The winning ticket will be drawn on November 30th – just in time for holiday gift giving!