Maria Saba, Charlie Petch and Gord Grisenthwaite named 2023 Berton House writers-in-residence

The Dawson City residency is run by the Writers' Trust of Canada. It includes a two-month stay, provides a $4,000 stipend and travel to and from Dawson City. Writers are required to deliver two public readings and encouraged to interact with the community.

The Dawson City residency is run by the Writers' Trust of Canada

A composite photo of three author headshots: a woman with brown hair, a man with sandy blond hair and a man with short gray hair and glasses.
Maria Saba, left, Charlie Petch, centre, and Gord Grisenthwaite are the 2023 Berton House writers-in-residence. (Writers' Trust of Canada)

Maria Saba, Charlie Petch and Gord Grisenthwaite will be the 2023 writers-in-residence at the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon. The residency, which is run by the Writers' Trust of Canada, includes a two-month stay, provides a $4,000 stipend and travel to and from Dawson City. Writers are required to deliver two public readings and encouraged to interact with the community during their stay.

Based at the childhood home of the late acclaimed Canadian author Pierre Berton, the residency has hosted nearly 100 writers since 1996.

A group of people sitting on chairs listening to an author read outside a white and green clapboard house.
A public reading taking place outside the Berton House. (Writers' Trust of Canada)

Saba will be the 2023 winter writer-in-residence. Saba is writer from Iran who now lives in Ottawa. She has published three nonfiction books in Persian. Her manuscript for the short story collection My First Friend was a semi-finalist for the Iowa Short Fiction Prize and the title story won the Pushcart Prize in 2017 and won Scoundrel Time's Editors' Choice Award in 2018. She also won the PEN Canada Scholarship for Writers in Exile.

Petch will be the 2023 summer writer-in-residence. Petch is a writer, filmmaker, spoken word performer, musician and playwright from Toronto. In 2020, they won the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for lifetime achievement in spoken word from The League of Canadian Poets. Their books include the poetry collection Why I Was Late, which won the 2021 ReLit Award. In 2021, they were longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize for the poem Hey You Lucy Liu

Grisenthwaite will be the 2023 fall writer-in-residence. Grisenthwaite is a writer from Lytton First Nation. His debut novel, Home Waltz, was shortlisted for a Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. In 2021, he was longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize for the story Splash Patterns

WATCH | Gord Grisenthwaite on writing fiction that's hard to read:

Gord Grisenthwaite on writing on a novel that he still finds hard to read

1 year ago
Duration 2:11
Gord Grisenthwaite's first novel Home Waltz is a finalist for the Governor General Literacy Awards. He talks about using his language, writing without fear and connecting with family.

Writers Carleigh Baker and Greg Bechtel, and Dawsonite filmmaker Lulu Keating selected the writers for the 2023 residency.

Dawson City Community Library and Klondike Visitors Association are partners for the 2023 residencies.

Berton House underwent a renovation during the pandemic to improve accessibility and comfort for future writers-in-residence.

Berton House, the childhood home of the late Canadian writer Pierre Berton, is located in Dawson City, Yukon. (Writers' Trust of Canada)

Paul Seesequasis was the writer-in-residence in 2022, the first writer to take residency after the pandemic pause and renovations. 

"I have found both the house, and its location in Dawson, inspiring. It is truly a rare and unique place for writers to create and dream, surrounded by an inspired vista," he said in a press statement.

The Writers' Trust of Canada has run the residency since 2007.

The Writers' Trust of Canada is an organization that supports Canadian writers through literary awards, fellowships, financial grants, mentorships and more. 

It also gives out seven prizes in recognition of the year's best in fiction, nonfiction and short story, as well as mid-career and lifetime achievement awards.

The Writers' Trust has given out a nonfiction prize since 1997. Hilary Weston has sponsored the prize since 2011.

The Writers' Trust will be seeking partners to support each Berton House residency, which aims to allow writers to find inspiration in the North and encourage the development of major Canadian works created in the unique environment of Berton House and its surroundings.

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