My Secret Mentor Workshop


Invitation to Attend by Méira Cook, UW Writer-in-Residence 2018

The idea for “My Secret Mentor” began (as most things begin for me) on a walk. Poet and former University of Winnipeg writer-in-residence, Jennifer Still and I were crunching through autumn leaves and chatting about the writers, professors, academics, and thinkers who have influenced us over the years. We realized that we’ve both been fortunate to have had many fine mentors and teachers as well as writers who have influenced us in more subtle ways. These “secret mentors” have guided our thinking and our writing, our relationship with words, our joy in language, and our ability to imagine ourselves into a discipline that is as much a way of life as it is a profession.

We wanted to pay tribute to these writing guides, and more importantly we would love  to have a conversation with young writers about their experience of mentorship and influence both in the creative and academic context. We are thinking too, unfortunately, about the recent troubles in the CanLit community regarding inappropriate mentorship. We’d like to address what makes for a healthy mentorship and discuss issues of power and trust. 

Jenn and I would be honoured to hear from other writers and encourage full participation in this informal colloquium.

Méira Cook is the current University of Winnipeg writer-in-residence and writes poetry and fiction. Her most recent poetry collection is Monologue Dogs and her novel, Once More With Feeling, was published last fall. Cook has mentored as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture and the Winnipeg Public Library.

Jennifer Still is a Winnipeg poet exploring the intersections of language and aesthetics. Her third book, Comma (2017), is a hand-assembled composition engaging with shadings, erasures, and intervals. Still has mentored writers as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and the Banff Centre of the Arts. She is currently the 2017/18 Writer-in-Residence at the Winnipeg Public Library.