As writer Virginia Woolf so aptly noted, a woman needs creative sanctuary in order to write fiction. An unexpected gift came my way this fall….
In September of 2013, I was delighted to be made a Research Fellow at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba campus, at the generous invitation of Dr. Moti Shojania, Dean, and through kind acceptance by a St. Paul’s selection committee.
As a Research Fellow, I have an office space in which to work on a set of linked short stories set in Manitoba’s past, between 1936 and 1982, with references going back to the Great War. I have sixteen early drafts that I will edit over the course of this year with the expert editorial assistance of Dr. Di Brandt from Brandon University.
As outlined in its mission statement, St. Paul’s College, as the “Catholic college in the Ignatian tradition at the University of Manitoba, serves the Church and Society by promoting learning, both secular and spiritual, through excellence in research, teaching, and service.” I feel fortunate to have the chance to focus and write in such a scholarly and creative atmosphere.
A Manitoba institution since 1926, the basic buildings of St. Paul’s College on the University of Manitoba campus were completed in 1958, including offices, classrooms, a library, cafeteria and chapel. In 1972, an expanded library and theatre to seat 200 were added.
Such is the place in which I will write my short stories this year, at times when I’m not teaching story-writing and illustrating in the Manitoba Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools Program.