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Jan. 24, 2017

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Jan. 25, 2017
For Immediate Release

WATERLOO – Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence (WIR) Ashley Little will launch her residency with a public talk titled “Place as Character: Moving Beyond Landscape and into Genius Loci,” on Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus Jan. 26.

Little will offer a glimpse into her own creative process as the author of four published novels, illustrating how she has tried to rethink the role of setting in fiction as something that can become a character in itself. Her books offer readers immersive, vivid experiences of geographical locations such as Niagara Falls and Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In her talk, she will discuss the impact of spending time walking the streets and interacting with people and architecture, and how the daily rhythms of these places allow her to transform the setting from mere background into something that helps readers get in touch with the “spirit of place.”

“Ashley Little was chosen by the Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence Committee due to her daring choices of subject matter, her vivid storytelling, and her gift for writing dialogue — she is a Canadian writer to watch, and we think her reputation will only grow in the years to come,” said Jenny Kerber, assistant professor of English and chair of the Edna Staebler WIR committee. “Given the early stage of her career, Ashley has been prolific, and her works have received considerable critical acclaim. We’re excited about the skills she will bring to our students and campus community, especially given her interest in writing about the lives of young people in Canada.”

Little was named the Edna Staebler WIR in May 2016. Each year, the WIR acts as a resource to the Laurier community while pursuing individual writing projects. Little will give public lectures, provide one-on-one feedback to student writers and writers in the community, and conduct writing workshops. She will also be working on a new novel, BIG ME, a story of a teenage giant, while at Laurier.

Little received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Film Studies from the University of Victoria and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her first novel, PRICK: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist (Tightrope, 2011), was a finalist for the ReLit award and optioned for film. The New Normal (Orca, 2013) won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. Anatomy of a Girl Gang (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013) won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and has been optioned for television. Her fourth novel, Niagara Motel, was released in October 2016 and her fifth novel, Confessions of a Teenage Leper, is forthcoming. Her work has been translated into Croatian, Korean and Italian.

Little has served as writer-in-residence for the Vancouver Public Library and the Alexandra Writers Centre Society in Calgary, Alberta. She has lived in Ontario, Alberta, Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan Valley.

Little’s talk will be held Jan. 26 in the Hawk’s Nest on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the event begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.



Jenny Kerber, Assistant Professor
Department of English and Film Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x4669


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070



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