Meet Emira Tufo, CBC/QWF's new writer-in-residence

Emira Tufo is CBC's new writer-in-residence. Though Montreal is not her hometown, Tufo says she "fell deeply in love" with the city when she first arrived here 10 years ago.

A lawyer and a writer, Tufo has been 'deeply in love' with Montreal ever since she moved here 10 years ago

Emira Tufo, CBC's 2019 writer-in-residence, discovered Montreal when she moved here 10 years ago. She plans to take readers on a virtual tour of the city's most magical spaces.​ (Amy Khoury)

CBC Montreal is proud to announce writer Emira Tufo will be the 2019 CBC/Quebec Writers' Federation writer-in-residence.

Formerly a litigator, Emira Tufo is now legal counsel at one of Montreal's universities, making time for something else she really loves: writing about her city.

Though Montreal is not her hometown, Tufo says she "fell deeply in love" with the city when she first arrived here 10 years ago.

"I arrived one August with a Lonely Planet guide that took me as far as Cagibi, the Foufounes Electriques and Schwartz's. The rest, I discovered on my own, and I fell deeply in love. Although I had previously travelled far and wide and found great pleasure in motion, I did not want to budge."

Escape from Sarajevo

Tufo's previous "far and wide" travels include escaping wartime Sarajevo, completing her studies at Stanford University in California and spending several years working in Kosovo for the United Nations.

"Throughout this decade and a half, I nurtured a singular dream: that of one day living in what I imagined to be a real city: somewhere culturally rich, unconventional, maybe a bit bohemian, somewhere that loves life," Tufo says.

"For me, that's Montreal."

She knew she was here to stay. Tufo earned her law degree from McGill University and became a member of the Quebec Bar in 2013.

As she began discovering her new home, she launched a weekly blog, Montreal Murmurs, where she delves into "the curious, the funny and the furious aspects of life in Canada's most mischievous city."

She has also written for publications including The Globe & Mail and is currently working on a memoir called Moving Montreal.

As CBC's 2019 writer-in-residence, Tufo plans to invite Montrealers to see their city through new eyes — her eyes — and follow her on a virtual tour of the city's most magical spaces.​

This year's finalists

Kate Shaw, left, calls Montreal her 1st 'adult home.' She moved to the city from the United States in 2013. Carolyne Van Der Meer, right, hails from Ontario but has been calling Montreal home for almost 30 years. (Submitted by Kate Shaw/Émilie Nadeau)

Tufo was one of three finalists. The other two writers were:

  • Kate Shaw, who has called Montreal home since 2013 — her first "adult home." She is a creative nonfiction and microfiction writer and has had her works appear in online publications. She's led various writing workshops and volunteered with Literacy Quebec. Shaw is currently working on a collection of stories that explores relationships.
  • Carolyne Van Der Meer, who's been working as a professional writer for more than 25 years.  She began her career as a journalist in Ottawa before becoming a writer and poet. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications. She published her first book, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience, in 2014. She also wrote Journeywoman, a collection of poetry, in 2017.

4th year for writer-in-residence gig

2019 marks the fourth year for CBC/QWF writer-in-residence program, which is open to emerging and established writers in the greater Montreal region.

The selected writer produces a series of nonfiction blog posts published on the CBC Montreal website and makes guest appearances on both CBC Radio and CBC TV. 

Past winners are Monique Pollak, Sarah Lolley and Joshua Levy.