UPEI writer-in-residence to help students tell their stories from afar

UPEI's writer-in-residence is not in residence this year, but will be offering readings and workshops online from his home in B.C.

Jay Ruzesky will be holding workshops online in February

Jay Ruzesky has written a book about his travels to the Arctic. (Scott Ruzesky)

UPEI's writer-in-residence is not in residence this year, but because of COVID-19 travel restrictions will be offering readings and workshops online from his home in B.C.

Jay Ruzesky, a professor of creative writing, Canadian literature and film studies at Vancouver Island University, is a novelist and poet who also writes travel stories and memoirs. 

His focus at UPEI will be non-fiction writing.

"In the same way that I think everybody is essentially creative, you know, we are creative as human beings, I also think everybody has a story," he said in an interview with Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie.

Everybody has a story.— Jay Ruzesky

"And creative non-fiction can be a lot of different things, everything from, you know, travel writing to restaurant reviews and all kinds of things."

His workshops will focus on two streams, one being more personal — stories about the writer's own experiences — and the other more outward, stories about what the writer observes and collects about another person's experience.

"Both things, in order to tell a story really well, it depends on literary techniques. It depends on the language. It depends on, you know, narrative and story and the kind of imagery and the kind of things that all good stories are made of."

'It's so beautiful'

Ruzesky said he wishes he could be at UPEI in person, but hosting virtual workshops has become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's where we are, right. I've been to Prince Edward Island, to Charlottetown and to the Island many times, and I love it there. It's so beautiful. And I have friends there, but it's just not something we can do right now."

The workshops are on Feb. 6 and Feb. 13. There will be a reading, open to anyone through Facebook Live, on Feb. 9.

More information is available on the Winter's Tales Facebook page.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.


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