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The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence program are supported by an endowment established by writer and literary journalist Edna Staebler and administered by Wilfrid Laurier University.

Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction

The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is the only award of its kind for this genre offered in Canada. First awarded in 1991, it provides encouragement and recognition to a Canadian writer of a first or second published book. The award is valued at $10,000. 

The winner of the 2023 award is Hilary Peach for Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood. In her memoir, published by Anvil Press, Peach takes the reader on a lively journey through her nearly 30 years as a boilermaker, a lucrative but tough trade that saw her follow jobs across North America. With wit, humour and pull-no-punches honesty – skills she honed to thrive in a male-dominated field – Peach describes both the rigours and extremes of a boilermaker’s work, welding industrial metal structures. Frequently funny and often gritty, this memoir leaves the reader informed, entertained and greatly admiring of those who undertake this unseen but invaluable work.

Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence

The Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence program is a residency for Canadian writers. The length of the residency depends on year-to-year funding and local planning initiatives, but the rate per week is commensurate with Canada Council funding. If accommodation is needed, the successful applicant will live in Lucinda House, a century home close to Laurier's Waterloo campus, for the duration of the residency.

The 2024 Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence was held by Poet and performer Nasser Hussain.  Hussain is the author of three books of poetry, including his most recent book, Love Language, published by Coach House Press in October 2023. His book of “airport code poems,” SKY WRI TEI NGS, garnered praise from The New York Times: “powerful to see these foundational myths reconstituted out of bureaucratic mundanity — like a model of the human genome built out of Lego.” Known for his inventiveness and his playful critique of language’s beauty and oddness, Hussain has taught creative writing at Leeds Beckett University, UK, served as the Writer in Residence for the First Story Project in 2017, as well as the Writer in Residence at the University of Windsor in 2019, where he was praised for his rapport with students and his “uncommon generosity” by Dr. Susan Holbrook. More recently, he served as Faculty Mentor at the Banff Centre for the Fine Arts in Winter 2023. During his Winter term at Laurier, Hussain will be writing his next book: the forthcoming honest sonnets, in which he applies his experimental mind to the traditional and ever-changing form of the sonnet.

"If only there was some way of recording every precious, passing moment."

from Must Write: Edna Staebler's Diaries

Contact Us:

Award for Creative Non-Fiction

T: 1-548-889-4333

Writer-in-Residence Program

T: 1-548-889-5077