Margaret Sweatman ’74 First Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence

Margaret Sweatman

Margaret Sweatman

Prominent Canadian author Margaret Sweatman is the inaugural University of Winnipeg Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence.

The announcement was made Monday, February 21 by Lloyd Axworthy, President of The University of Winnipeg, at a reception at Random House in Toronto.

“Carol Shields was enormously committed to cultivating young writers,” said Axworthy. “To extract the dignity, the very essence, to uncover the extraordinary in any given individual was her gift. It is a legacy that this University will nurture in our emerging writers. It is a legacy that will be lived out by Margaret Sweatman on our campus and in the community.”

Winnipeg-born novelist and playwright, Sweatman also works with poetry, song, and performance. Sweatman’s most recent novel, When Alice Lay Down With Peter (2001), has won numerous fiction awards including the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. Sweatman is also the author of Sam and Angie, and Fox for which she won both the McNally Robinson Prize for the Manitoba Book of the Year and the John Hirsch Award for the most promising Manitoba writer.

“University of Winnipeg faculty are renowned for the care with which they guide students,” said Dean of Humanities Neil Besner. “Margaret Sweatman is a gifted author and carries with her something of Carol’s warmth and generosity of spirit. She is a superb addition to the University family and a perfect choice for the first University of Winnipeg Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence.”

Sweatman, as the inaugural University of Winnipeg Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence, will mentor emerging student and community writers. In addition to devoting time to her own creative works, Sweatman will read and respond to manuscripts, hold regular office hours for students and the public, organize reading series, seminars or lectures on writing, and deliver public readings of her work.

Sweatman has a long history with the University, first as a graduate of The Collegiate (Class of ’71) and as a graduate of The University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and History (Class of ’74). She studied Communication Arts at Concordia University and completed a Master of Arts degree at Simon Fraser University. Sweatman resides in Winnipeg with her partner, composer and musician, Glenn Buhr.

The announcement was made in Toronto just prior to the world premiere of Carol Shields’ book-to-play Unless at the CanStage Bluma Appel Theatre. The stage adaptation was written by Carol and her daughter Sara CassidyDon Shields with daughter Meg Shields were on hand, along with a number of family friends, Toronto alumni, University of Winnipeg Foundation CEO Susan Thompson, and members of the University faculty and administration.

Author of over 20 books, including Pulitzer Prize-winning The Stone Diaries and Larry’s PartyCarol Shields was the much-loved Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg from 1996 – 2000 and a writer-in-residence at the University in 1988. Last October at a ceremony honouring the late Carol Shields, The University of Winnipeg unveiled Larry’s Bench, a place of respite and reflection in the heart of the campus.  At that time, President Axworthy also announced the donation of $100,000 from Don Shields towards the establishment of The University of Winnipeg Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence Program.

Sweatman returns to her alma mater as The University of Winnipeg Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence in the 2005 academic year.

Donations to The Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence Program can be made to The University of Winnipeg Foundation, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9,

Comments are closed.