Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 02, 2006

Author Jane Urquhart Returns to U of G as Writer-in-Residence

Jane Urquhart, a Governor General Award-winning novelist, is the 2006 writer-in-residence at the University of Guelph. Urquhart, who is a U of G graduate, will read from her most recent novel, A Map of Glass, Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. in the George Luscombe Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

“I always loved this campus, so there’s something exciting about coming back,” she said. “I don’t really feel that I’ve changed that much since I was here as a student 30 years ago, and that’s an odd thing because a lot has happened to me in the intervening years.”

Since completing a BA in English literature at U of G in 1971, Urquhart has become a bestselling author of five internationally acclaimed award-winning novels and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2005.

Urquhart won the 1997 Governor General’s Award for her fourth novel, The Underpainter.

Her novel Away remained on the Globe and Mail’s national bestseller list for 132 weeks – the longest of any Canadian book – and won the 1994 Trillium Book Award. Away was also shortlisted for the world’s largest literary prize for a single work of fiction, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her first novel, The Whirlpool, received the Best Foreign Book Award in France.

Her 2001 novel, The Stone Carvers, was an international bestseller that was a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award. In addition to her novels, Urquhart has published three books of poetry and a collection of short fiction.

This is the second time she has been formally invited back to her alma mater. In 1999, she was presented with an honorary doctorate of letters at U of G’s summer convocation.

Urquhart has also been a writer-in-residence at the University of Ottawa and Memorial University in Newfoundland and she held the presidential writer-in-residence fellowship at the University of Toronto.

Working with emerging writers who have a desire to write regardless of what might happen to the material they produce is exciting, she said. “I think the most important thing that anyone who’s into writing can do is to continue to read extensively. I’m an obsessed reader, I’m a compulsive reader, I’m an escape reader, I’m every kind of reader you can imagine.”

While on campus, in addition to consulting with aspiring writers, Urquhart will be in the McLaughlin Library and in her Massey Hall office reading Canadian short stories, because she’s currently compiling the Penguin Anthology of Canadian Short Stories.

“The University of Guelph has within its community a number of very interesting writers, so I hope to be able to communicate with them and find out if they have any favourite writers of short fiction that they would like to bring to my attention.”

Urquhart will be on campus Mondays and Fridays until the end of the semester to consult with U of G students, staff and faculty, as well as those in the broader Guelph community who are interested in creative writing. To book an appointment, contact Michael Boterman at 519-824-4120, Ext. 53147, or

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519- 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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