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Wonder writer

Sara Tilley named Memorial's 2016 writer-in-residence

Campus and Community

By Janet Harron

Writer and actor Sara Tilley has been named Memorial’s fall 2016 writer-in-residence.

“Sara is a wonder, as anyone knows who has heard her read or seen her perform or opened one of her books,” said Dr. Robert Finley, Department of English, and chair of the selection committee.

“With the remarkable Robert Chafe leading a graduate workshop in playwriting this fall and a big conference on comics and graphic narrative coming up, it’s a perfect fit having Sara, who works so nimbly in all these forms, in residence and available to our creative writing students and to the larger community at Memorial and in the city. We’re blessed.”

Winterset winner

Among Ms. Tilley’s considerable accomplishments to date are 11 plays and two novels, Skin Room (2008) and Duke (2015), both published by Pedlar Press. Duke was chosen as the winner of the 2015 BMO Winterset Award.

Her wide spectrum of work includes time spent as an actor, a writer, a designer of puppets, masks, props, and sometimes sets and costumes, a director, a puppeteer, a dramaturg and a clown teacher/performer. During her time at Memorial, Ms. Tilley plans to work on several different projects, focusing mainly on a new play script, White or Red, and the text for a graphic novel collaboration with visual artist Audrey Hurd.


Throughout the fall semester Ms. Tilley will offer one-on-one writing consultations for writers working in prose and playwriting to review up to 20 pages of work. These sessions will take place on Wednesday afternoons, or by other arrangement. Interested writers are asked to contact Ms. Tilley to set up an appointment. Space is limited, so appointments cannot be guaranteed.

Collective experiment

In addition to consultations, Ms. Tilley will lead CollabLab, a biweekly workshop that will focus on experiments in collective writing. This group will meet every two weeks throughout the term to experiment with collective and collaborative writing techniques, culminating in a public presentation of work in December.

“Techniques such as improvisation, documentation, small group writing, duo writing, transcription, text collage and physical character creation will get things started, and the energy of the group will dictate where we end up,” said Ms. Tilley, who has previously been writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon, at Landfall in Brigus, N.L., and at the University of Calgary’s Distinguished Writers Program.

CollabLab is a group experiment, and Ms. Tilley stresses that ideal candidates are people who have a background in writing or theatre in some way, and who are interested in stretching their process, working with new people and actively contributing their own knowledge and skills to the group. CollabLab will run from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Nov. 17 and Dec. 1, with a public showing of the work following the last session.

To apply, please send a short biography and statement of why you might want to join the CollabLab group to sara.tilley@mun.ca by Sept. 23 at 5  p.m. Space is limited to 10 participants maximum.

Public reading

Ms. Tilley’s inaugural launch reading will take place on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. in Suncor Hall, School of Music.

A reception will follow. Admission is free and all are welcome. Free parking available in lot 15 B.

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