New writer in residence named

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It all started at the age of six years old when he wrote the story of a boy and his dinosaur. After that, Chris Benjamin was hooked on writing. As a shy boy growing up in Beaverbank, Nova Scotia, writing was a creative outlet that he knew he was good at – getting praise locally, nationally and internationally for his work. 

It appears the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library (PARL) also took notice, which is why he has been chosen as their 2014 Writer-in-Residence.

PARL’s Writer-in-Residence program, in partnership with the continuing support from our Regional Library Board, provides an important access point for emerging writers into the world of writing and publishing at a grass-roots level in rural communities. The Writer-in-Residence acts as a mentor to writers and readers of all ages and abilities by giving workshops, reviewing manuscripts, providing criticism and offering advice about publishing.

A freelance journalist and author, Benjamin is a frequent contributor to Saltscapes Magazine, Halifax Magazine, and the Halifax Examiner. His debut novel, Drive-by Saviours, won the H.R. Percy Prize and was longlisted for Canada Reads 2011 and a ReLit Prize. His second novel, a non-fiction piece titled Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada, was the winner of the 2012 APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award and a finalist for the Richardson Non-Fiction Prize.

His newest book, Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School will be released August 2014 and won the Dave Greber Freelance Writing Award. Chris has also written for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Chronicle Herald, Halifax Magazine, and more. Benjamin has always been a storyteller with a passion for social justice, sustainability and human health but while working toward his Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at York University, he became hooked on environmental writing. 

“I was starting to see a parallel between human diversity and bio-diversity. As an ecosystem is resilient when it has diverse elements complementing one another’s functions, societies thrive when communities engage with open minds,” he says.

A launch and reading from Chris Benjamin will be held Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. at the New Glasgow Public Library. For those who want to make a mentoring appointment with Chris Benjamin in Pictou County, please contact Holly MacLean, Community Outreach Assistant at (902) 755-6031. 

The following workshops will also be held at library branches in the area. To register for a workshop, please contact the library branch.

  • ‘Personal Stories made Profound’ Workshop – New Glasgow Public Library (902-752-8233)

    Tuesday, September 30, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

  • ‘Historical research – where and how to begin’ Workshop – Pictou Public Library (902-485-5021)

    Tuesday, October 14, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

  • ‘Pitch the Publisher’ Workshop – Pictou Public Library (902-485-5021)

    Tuesday, October 28, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

  • ‘The Business of Freelance Journalism’ Workshop – River John Public Library (902-351-2599)

    Tuesday, November 4, 6:15pm – 7:30pm

  • ‘The Art of Short Story Writing’ Workshop – River John Public Library (902-351-2599)

    Tuesday, November 18, 6:15pm – 7:30pm

  • ‘Making Multimedia Work’ Workshop with special guest filmmaker Kevin Moynihan – New Glasgow Public Library (902-752-8233). Tuesday, November 25, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
  • ‘Building Character and Theme’ Workshop – Westville Public Library (902-396-5022)

    Tuesday, December 2, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

 

Organizations: Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, Halifax Magazine, Regional Library Board New Glasgow Public Library Halifax Examiner Canada Reads 2011 Indian School Globe and Mail Pictou Public Library York University Westville Public Library

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Pictou County

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