As one writer ends her residency with the Metro Edmonton libraries, another is lined up to take her place starting in the new year.
Conni Massing was announced last week as the 2020 regional writer in residence, replacing Mary Pinkoski whose last day on the job is Thursday.
“I'm thrilled about it. I'm really delighted. I love this kind of work and I think it's going to be a really exciting and fun year,” Massing said.
The program is entering its eighth year of offering an established writer as a resource for members of the public trying their hands at the writing game, encompassing both personal and professional projects. People such as Richard van Camp, Marty Chan, Michael Hingston, Natasha Deen and Gail Sidonie Sobat have held the office, offering tips on every form of writing from novels to freeform poetry to screenplays while also hosting special events frequently with other guest writers to provide further encouragement and information on the world of publishing and breaking through creative blocks.
The position rotates in three- or four-month stints around the metropolitan suburbs, starting with the Strathcona Library in Sherwood Park and then the Fort Saskatchewan library. Massing expects to round out the year in St. Albert beginning in mid-August.
Her first day on the job in Sherwood Park is Jan. 8, 2020. She’s raring to go with a lineup of programs already planned.
“It's a course on memoir writing. My approach to it is going to be via a photograph. So you bring a photograph from your life that's important to you and we use that as a way into a memory and writing about a memory,” she explained about the exercise.
Memoir writing: exploring your past through a visual lens is scheduled for Jan. 23. Apparently, writers are just as eager to meet with her as she is to meet with them – the course is already full and a waiting list is in effect.
She speculated she might do a version of the same course when she arrives in St. Albert, “depending on interest.”
Massing is an experienced and award-winning writer with books and plays to her credit, plus a few screenplays in development. She said she’s eager to meet the masses and offer her wealth of knowledge on manuscripts and script development, but admitted she has never published in verse. That won’t stop her from trying to help if she can.
“I've never published any poetry and perhaps you don't want me to. I mean, I am a great admirer of poetry ... and I will do my very best to consult with people about poetry if that is their particular interest.”
While Massing does the regional rounds, she is joined in the larger writer in residence program by Susie Moloney who will spend the entire year stationed at the Edmonton Public Libraries. During their terms, each writer is expected to devote half their time to mentoring other writers while working on their own writing projects for the other half. They can both be reached through the program’s website at www.metrowir.com starting in January.