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Mable Pugh Taylor Writer in Residence

Every year the Department of English at McMaster University has the pleasure of hosting a writer as the Mable Pugh Taylor Writer in Residence, usually for a period of eight months. The residency invites a well-published Canadian author to work at the Hamilton Public Library and on the McMaster campus to mentor creative writers from the university and from the Hamilton community.

The Writer in Residence works closely with individual writers, providing feedback on submissions in one-on-one meetings and helping with creativity and revision. Writers in Residence also contribute to public outreach by making class visits to university, college, high school, and community classes. Resident writers give public readings from their work and help the Department of English and Cultural Studies maintain a lively contact with the Hamilton writing community.

Current Writer in Residence

Please welcome our 2019-20 Writer in Resident, Nilofar Shidmehr.


The Department previously hosted a four-month Writer in Residence Program from 1999-2002. In 2003, it was renamed the Mable Pugh Taylor Writer in Residence, jointly funded by the Taylor family, the Department of English and Cultural Studies with the Faculty of Humanities at McMaster, and the Canada Council for the Arts. The residency was further expanded in 2013 to become an eight-month residency with the participation of the Hamilton Public Library and again in 2019 with the participation of McMaster University Library.

Through this program, we have been able to offer residencies to highly acclaimed writers of a variety of genres who hail from places across the country. They include Daniel David Moses, Sandra Birdsell, M.T. Kelly, Ven Begamudré, Shyam Selvadurai, Marlene NourbeSe Philip, Catherine Bush, John Terpstra, Daphne Marlatt, Lawrence Hill, André Alexis, and Kim Echlin.


The eight-month residencies are co-sponsored through a partnership between the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster, with the help of a generous donation from the Taylor family; the Hamilton Public Library; and McMaster University Library.

The residency enables writers and aspiring writers in the Hamilton region to consult with the resident during office hours held at the Hamilton Public Library and McMaster University for the equivalent of two days a week. Depending on the resident’s circumstances, these days can be conceived in different ways. While Writers in Residence usually make classroom visits, they are not asked to teach classes.

These arrangements provide us partners of the hosting institutions the pleasure of contributing to Canadian writers’ financial security so they can have time to write (on the days of the week beyond the two contracted by the residency), while community members here have the opportunity to consult about new work with an established writer. Over the years, we’ve been pleased to see that our Writers in Residence have consulted as much or more with people from the general writing community in Hamilton as they have with writers from within McMaster itself.

Prior to 2016, McMaster and the Hamilton Public Library applied each year for matching funds from the Canada Council to support the residency. Since then, the Council has changed its funding architecture so that writers themselves are now able to apply directly to the Council for this kind of support. We are pleased to offer the Maple Pugh Taylor Writer in Resident position whether or not the recipient chooses to apply for further funding from the Canada Council, but we are also happy to support the resident in submitting an application should they choose to do so.

How to Apply

Advertisements for the Writer in Resident position are posted every two or three years in publications such as the Writers’ Union of Canada newsletter. A committee of people from the Hamilton Public Library, the Department of English and Cultural Studies, and McMaster University Library then vets the applications.

To inquire about the program, please contact the Department of English and Cultural Studies at 905-525-9140, ext. 24491 or

We are now accepting applications for residencies in 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23. Please see the job posting here for how to apply: WIR Posting 2019. Applications close October 27, 2019.