Central Library hoping to host more writers in residence

Author at Home: Marcello Di Cintio, in his office in the Central Library in Calgary on Nov. 26, 2018. Di Cintio, who has written four books, is based in Calgary. (Photo by Jayme D. Tucker/The Press)

The city library system offers a host of resources, and with the opening of the new Central Library, they’re more accessible than ever.

One resource that students may not be aware of is the long-running author in residence program.

“A writer in residence is here to meet with emerging or established writers,” program manager and service design lead Rosemary Griebel said in an interview.

“They’ll meet to review their writing or help them with questions about how to get published.”

The program has run since 1987, and has hosted an variety of poets, fiction and non-fiction, and children’s book authors.

The author in residence commits about 17 hours a week to consultations and community engagement, while working on their current project.

Consultations run for an hour at a time, are free, and vary from manuscript reviews to discussions about the nuts and bolts of publishing.

“It tends to attract writers of all ages and backgrounds,” said Griebel.

“But the ideal candidate should have experience with mentoring, and a comfort with different genres, since they meet with varied writers, both published and unpublished.

“Every year, we see seniors who really want to make sure their story is told,” said Griebel.

“Maybe they were an immigrant or went through a lot of hardship, and they want to have a document for their grandchildren and future generations.”

Community engagement during a residency can vary from visits with school groups to touring programs to the libraries around the city.

The current author in residence, non-fiction writer Marcello Di Cintio of Calgary, took on one such program, where he set up in various community libraries and listened to residents tell their stories.

“The best part of this job is getting a backstage pass into the lives of people,” said Di Cintio in an interview.

“Because you’re a writer, people will tell you their whole lives. It’s such a gift, but there’s responsibility to do right by them.”

Di Cintio is nearing the end of his term as the author in residence, but has enjoyed the opportunity to talk to emerging writers.

“With residencies like this, you get to see beginning writers, people who love to write,” said Di Cintio.

“When you’re in the business, sometimes you can get cynical and it’s nice to remember that we all got into it because we love to write. It’s inspiring to see people coming in who want to write and love it.”

With the new central library open to the public, there have also been additions to the residency program.

“We also added two other residence programs here at the Central Library,” said Griebel. “The historian in residence, Kevin Allen, and the artist in residence, Nicole Wolf.”

As for the future of the program, Grieibel is hopeful that there is room for expansion.

“We would really like to expand the program to two authors a year.”

Get Your Read On: Rosemary Griebel poses in the TD Great Reading Room in the Central Library in Calgary on Nov. 30, 2018. The book she’s holding is written by the author in residence Marcello Di Cintio. (Photo by Jayme D. Tucker/The Press)
About Jayme Tucker 3 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Jayme Tucker is working as a writer for The Press during the 2018-19 academic year.