Meet Sarah Lolley, CBC/QWF's 2017 writer-in-residence

CBC Montreal is proud to announce writer Sarah Lolley will be the 2017 CBC/QWF Writer-in-residence. The medical writer-turned-essayist and travel blogger draws her inspiration from all things Montreal: our language foibles, drawn-out winters, museums and hidden gems.

Writer draws her inspiration from Montreal — our language foibles, drawn-out winters, bars, museums

Medical writer-turned-travel blogger and children's story writer Sarah Lolley was the 2017 CBC/QWF Montreal writer-in-residence. (Dallas Curow)

CBC Montreal is proud to announce writer Sarah Lolley will be the 2017 CBC/QWF writer-in-residence. 

The medical writer turned-essayist-and travel blogger draws her inspiration from all things Montreal: our language foibles, drawn out winters, our bars and museums and more hidden gems. 
In a blog post in 2015, Sarah Lolley writes about how, as a bilingual Montrealer, she will 'absorb printed information without registering the language in which it reaches me.' Still, she wondered at the meaning of this sign, until she realized it was painted on the side of a Lululemon yoga apparel outlet. (Sarah Lolley)

Her short story 3:28 p.m. on a Saturday at the Bar on the Corner, set in a neighbourhood on the Plateau Mont-Royal, was short-listed for the CBC Literary Awards in 2010. 

The 40-year-old mother of two is also the author of a yoga-themed children's picture book, Emily and the Mighty Om, published by Simply Read Books in 2014.

Lolley also has a quirky passion for cryptic crosswords. On her website, she blogs about how solving cryptic puzzles inspires her to see the world differently. 

Why a writer-in-residence?

"The CBC/QWF writing residency is a great opportunity for local writers to increase their profile in the community," said Quebec Writers' Federation executive director Lori Schubert.

"It's also a terrific way to remind the English-language community of Quebec that they have talented, imaginative and thoughtful writers among them, observing and interpreting their culture."

CBC Montreal's senior digital lineup editor Kim McNairn announces the finalists for the 2017 CBC/QWF writer-in-residence position. The deadline to apply for the 2018 residency is October 15 at midnight. (Daphne Santos-Vieira/CBC)

'Turbocharged with ideas'

Lolley has had a long relationship with the Quebec Writers' Federation, crediting the QWF with "opening up a whole community of creative writing" to her not long after she moved to this city from Ontario. Lolley has taught QWF workshops in personal essay writing since 2013.

"She's turbocharged with ideas and passion, has a lively and engaging writing style and is a consummate professional," said Schubert. "I'm excited to see what she produces during her five-month tenure."

As part of the writer-in-residence project, Lolley will write a series of five non-fiction blog posts on themes that explore her relationship with Montreal. They will be published on the CBC Montreal website from January to April 2017.

Have fun, advises Monique Polak

Monique Polak - aka Her Royal Highness Princess Monique - has channeled her childhood impulse to lie into her work as a fiction writer, where it's all about making the stories up. (Marilla Steuter-Martin/CBC)

In 2016, our first writer-in-residence — children's book author and journalist Monique Polak — was asked to focus on storytelling, delighting readers with her tale of her own monkey-man charm, of pretending to be a princess at summer camp and of falling in love —  in your 50s, 60s and 90s! 

Asked what her advice would be for the next writer-in-residence, Polak had this list:

  1. Do your own thing with the column. You don't need my advice!
  2. But if you did want my advice, find us the stories we don't usually get to hear.
  3. Most important, have fun.

Champagne worthy?

There's little doubt Lolley will have fun.

Her stories and essays reveal a playful, joyous approach to life.

In her essay Pop Life, published in ELLE Canada, she writes about waiting for the ideal moment to open a $75 bottle of Moët & Chandon in her fridge. Alas, visiting cousins who borrow her Montreal apartment one weekend make short work of it.

But she replaces the bottle, brings it to a friend's for a night of trashy TV watching, pops the cork and offers this toast: "To being worthy of champagne."

We hope being chosen 2017 CBC/QWF writer-in-residence is champagne-worthy, Sarah Lolley. 

Montreal writer Sarah Lolley reads her daughter her book, Emily and the Mighty Om, last year. (Sarah Lolley)