Three men posing for a picture, the man in the middle is seated. Text: Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture.

Congratulations to the 2023 Manitoba Book Award Winners

Congratulations to Méira Cook [PhD/98] on winning the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction for her book The Full Catastrophe. Méira is not only a UM alum but also, a poet, novelist, editor, teacher, literary critic, and Winnipegger. In 2011, she served as a CCWOC Writer-In-Residence offering workshops and one-on-one consultations to aspiring writers.

CCWOC is a proud sponsor of the Manitowapow Award, presented to Indigenous writers or oral performers who demonstrate excellence in writing, storytelling or spoken word and who also actively support Indigenous verbal arts in Manitoba. Congratulations to the 2023 winners: William Dumas, David A. Robertson and Joshua Whitehead

Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence Program

The Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence program brings together established and emerging writers and storytellers, offering workshops, one-on-one consultations and public events. The program, which has been running for over 15 years, is open to UM students, staff and alumni as well as to the wider community.

  • Miguel Antonio Chávez – Winter 2024 Writer-in-Residence


    Miguel Antonio Chávez is a writer, lecturer, translator, and screenwriter from Guayaquil, Ecuador. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish (NYU) and is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Studies (Western University). Chávez was a finalist for the 2007 Juan Rulfo Prize (Radio France Internationale) with the short story “La puta madre patria” [The Whore Motherland],  a winner of the 2016-2017 Competitive Funds (Ministry of Culture of Ecuador) in the literary creation category, and was chosen by FIL Guadalajara as one of “The 25 best kept literary secrets in Latin America”.


Welcome event

CCWOC welcomes Miguel Antonio Chávez to the University of Manitoba at an in-person event. Chávez will talk about his experience both as a writer in the Spanish-speaking world and as an educator, particularly his involvement in the Tales of Freedom project where he conducted a creative writing workshop in a penitentiary. Student writer Hanako Teranishi will also read at the event.

Thursday, January 25, 2024
Lunch: 12:30 p.m.
Readings and talk: 1:10 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Room 108 St. John's College 

Register for a writer's workshop - English or Spanish

Chávez is hosting a workshop for aspiring writers. The workshop will be offered in English and then in Spanish.

Register for a workshop

Know yourself, know your story (3 sessions)
Wednesdays - January 31, February 7, February 14
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Often we don’t look for that great idea to write a fictional story; that idea looks for us instead. And many times when we find that idea, we don't know how to shape it. What can we do? This workshop will help you to, on the one hand, listen to your creative instinct, and to know how to listen to your characters and find their voices, and, on the other, to apply the writing techniques your story needs so that it takes a life of its own. By better understanding your own skills as a storyteller you will both develop your style and face other creative challenges that may lie ahead.

Who is the workshop for? Ideally (but not exclusively) unpublished fiction writers who are interested in developing a specific genre of creative writing. Although the short story genre will be preferred, plays, novellas, and creative nonfiction are also welcome.

Is any experience required? It’s highly recommended that you have a rough idea of a short story you would like to develop.

What will the sessions look like? We will have three 90-minute on-site sessions, followed by assignments to work on at home. Each session will generally have four components:

  1. Sharing and discussion of motivations to write, and understanding your writing skills;
  2. Comprehensive reading of printed materials (reflections on the craft of writing by various authors) provided at the workshop;
  3. Writing exercises (searching for a narrative voice, spatial and temporal setting, character development, story structure, etc.);
  4. Group critical reading and constructive feedback for participants’ works-in-progress.

Conócete a ti mismo, conoce tu historia
Los miércoles 
5:00 – 6:30 de la tarde
28 de febrero, 6 de marzo, 13 de marzo

Muchas veces no buscamos esa gran idea para escribir una historia de ficción, sino que esa idea nos busca a nosotros. Y muchas veces cuando encontramos esa idea, no sabemos qué forma darle. ¿Qué hacer? Este taller te ayudará, por un lado, a escuchar a tu instinto creativo, a saber escuchar a tus personajes y encontrarles su voz; y, por el otro, a desarrollar las técnicas de escritura que tu historia necesita para que cobre vida propia. Conociendo mejor tus propias habilidades como narrador/a, podrás empezar no sólo a desarrollar tu estilo, sino también a enfrentar los demás desafíos creativos que tendrás por delante.

¿Quién lo puede tomar? Preferiblemente (pero no exclusivamente) escritores/as de ficción inéditos/as que estén interesados/as en desarrollar un género específico de escritura creativa. Aunque el cuento tendrá prioridad, también serán bienvenidos el texto dramatúrgico, la novela corta y la no ficción creativa.

¿Se requiere alguna experiencia? No. Sin embargo, es muy recomendable que tengas en mente un borrador de la idea que te gustaría desarrollar.

¿Cómo serán las sesiones? Tendremos tres sesiones presenciales de 90 minutos, seguidas de tareas de escritura para la casa. Cada sesión tendrá generalmente cuatro componentes:

  1. Discusión de movitaciones para escribir y comprensión de tus habilidades de escritura.
  2. Lectura comprensiva de materiales impresos (reflexiones de escritores varios sobre el oficio de escribir) proporcionados en el taller.
  3. Ejercicios de escritura (búsqueda de la voz narrativa, ambientación espacial y temporal, desarrollo de personajes, estructura de la historia, etc.)
  4. Lectura crítica grupal y feedback constructivo de los trabajos de los participantes.

Book an individual writer consultation

Chávez is available by appointment to writers of all levels from January 15 to April 15, 2024.

Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in room 254 St. John's College. If you would like to arrange an appointment outside office hours, please email your request.

To consult with Chávez, students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the public are encouraged to contact him by email to arrange a free meeting.

Past Writers/Storytellers-in-Residence

Apply to our Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence Program (currently seeking Fall 2024 & Winter 2025 applicants)


Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2024 and Winter 2025 residencies until October 16, 2023.

A professional writer and/or storyteller is sought for the position of Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence at UM’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. The three-month residencies, taking place in the fall or winter, require the successful candidate to spend approximately 16 hours per week providing mentorship and practical artistic advice to developing writers and storytellers at UM, give a limited number of readings and/or performances on campus and lead an informal non-credit workshop. The remaining time is devoted to the writer or storyteller’s own artistic projects. The successful candidate will receive a salary of $15,000.00 CAD (subject to all mandatory deductions) plus rent-free accommodation and transportation to and from Winnipeg. 

CCWOC is an interdisciplinary Centre with a mandate to promote the creation and the study of the verbal arts, both oral and written. Located at the University of Manitoba in the city of Winnipeg, the Centre sponsors readings, lectures, master classes and creative community projects that explore the connections between oral and written culture.

Winnipeg is renowned for its vibrant arts community and its multicultural citizenry, including the largest urban population of Indigenous people in North America. The centre builds upon these local cultural strengths as a basis for its creative and critical work.


Applications should include a cover letter summarizing the applicant’s qualifications for the position and describing the artistic and mentoring work they would undertake during the residency. Applications must also include:

  • A CV or resume of career achievements (publications, performances, awards, residencies)
  • A writing sample of no more than 20 pages (double-spaced and typed in a standard 12-point font)
  • Two letters of reference discussing the applicant’s skills as an artist and a mentor
  • Storytellers are encouraged to submit links to their performance videos

Candidates of all nationalities are encouraged to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian applicants. Full proficiency in English is required and publications or performance credits in English would be an asset. The Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture is committed to principles of employment equity.

Please submit your application to Attachments must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Hard copies of materials will not be accepted.

Diversity and immigration statement
The University of Manitoba is committed to the principles of equity, diversity & inclusion and to promoting opportunities in hiring, promotion and tenure (where applicable) for systemically marginalized groups who have been excluded from full participation at the University and the larger community including Indigenous Peoples, women, racialized persons, persons with disabilities and those who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning, intersex, asexual and other diverse sexual identities). All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.
If you require accommodation supports during the recruitment process, please contact or 204-474-7195. Please note this contact information is for accommodation reasons only.

FIPPA Statement
Application materials, including letters of reference, will be handled in accordance with the protection of privacy provision of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (Manitoba). Please note that curriculum vitae may be provided to participating members of the search process.

Who we are


Dr. Jocelyn Thorpe

Dr. Jocelyn Thorpe is a settler scholar in the Women's and Gender Studies Program and the Department of History, in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Manitoba. She studies histories and legacies of colonialism and environmental injustice, as well as the creative ways that people work toward a more just world. She has been the Director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture since 2021. 

Steering Committee

Dr. Warren Cariou
English, Theatre, Film & Media

Dr. Alison Calder
English, Theatre, Film & Media

Dr. Adele Perry

Dr. Nancy Kang
Women's and Gender Studies


C. D. Howe Memorial Fellowships in Creative Writing and Oral Culture

With contributions from the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative, the C.D. Howe Foundation has established a fund at UM in support of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. Two fellowships, valued at approximately $10,000.00 each, will be offered to successful candidates (the amount is based on the average of the last five years and is subject to change).

Deadline for applications is June 3, 2024.


We offer fellowships to graduate students who:

  • Are enrolled full-time in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, in a master's or doctoral degree program
  • Have achieved a minimum degree grade point average of 3.5 (or equivalent) based on the last 60 credit hours of study
  • Are conducting thesis research in creative writing (producing an original work of literature) or on the critical study of oral cultures
  • Students with lived experience of Indigenous and other oral cultures are particularly encouraged to apply.

Application requirements

Candidates are asked to submit an application consisting of:

  • A description of their proposed or ongoing research (maximum 500 words)
  • A current academic transcript
  • Two letters of reference from professors at a post-secondary institution.

Candidates will be assessed as follows: record of academic achievement (30 per cent), plan of research (40 per cent), letters of reference (30 per cent).

The award is not automatically renewable but previous recipients may apply. Recipients may hold the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation Fellowships in Creative Writing and Oral Culture concurrently with other awards, consistent with the policies of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Please send your application or any questions to Mary Elliott, Coordinator at Deadline for applications is June 1, 2023.

Current recipients


Natalie LoVetri, Masters' student in English, Theatre, Film & Media
LoVetri holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design (BEnvD) and a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy from UM. Her interests encompass both creative writing and literary analysis, particularly modernist fiction, narrative poetry, short stories and fragments. Her creative thesis explores the psychological impacts of mental illness, instability and traumatic loss in the context of familial relationships. Her work delves into ideas of identity, personal narrative and social constructions of the self. In addition to her academic pursuits, LoVetri works as a writing tutor with the Academic Learning Centre. She is a mother, marathoner, creative writer and painter.

Sehar Mushtaq, Ph.D. student in Peace and Conflict Studies
Mushtaq's research explores Indigenous processes of peacemaking and peacebuilding amongst the Kalash people of Pakistan. Through her research, she analyzes oral laws and codes that govern and guide behaviours concerning the expression and resolution of conflicts in the Kalash community.

Past recipients

Natalie LoVetri, Masters' student in English, Theatre, Film & Media
Sehar Mushtaq, Ph.D. student in Peace and Conflict Studies

Antony Zang, Masters' student in English, Theatre, Film & Media
Sehar Mushtaq, Ph.D. student in Peace and Conflict Studies

Micheline Hughes, Ph.D. student in Native Studies
Virginia Page Jahne, Masters' students in English, Theatre, Film & Media

Michelle Lietz, Ph.D. student in English literature
Dominique Reynolds, Masters' student in French

Melanie Braith, Ph.D. student in English
Nick Kosmenko, Ph.D. student in Applied Health Sciences

Micheline Hughes, Ph.D. student in Native Studies
Allison Penner, Masters' student in History

Damien Lee, Masters' student in Native Studies
Susie Fisher, Masters' student in History

Kirsty Cameron, Masters' student in English
Micheal Minor, Ph.D. student in English, Film & Theatre

Lydia Schoeppner, Ph.D. student in Peace and Conflict Studies
Daniel Guezen, Masters' student in French, Spanish and Italian

Ryan Duplassie, Ph.D. student in Native Studies
Agnieszka (Agnes) Pawlowska, Ph.D. student in Native Studies

Alon D. Weinberg, Masters' student in Native Studies

Sean Braun, Masters' student in English, Film & Theatre
Daria Patrie, Masters' student in English, Film & Theatre

Gordon Blackburde, Masters' student in Native Studies
Susan Rich, Masters' student in English

Community and outreach

Manitoba Book Awards 

The Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture is proud to support Manitoba writers as the sponsor of the Manitowapow Award through the Manitoba Book Awards

The award is presented every two years to two Indigenous writers or oral performers who demonstrate excellence in writing, storytelling or spoken word and who also actively support Indigenous verbal arts in Manitoba. 


CCWOC gratefully accepts donations from individuals, corporations and other organizations which help support its vision, goals and objectives. Donors will receive a receipt for income tax purposes.

In the "Direct my gift to" field, choose "Enter a fund name". In the "Enter a fund name" field, type "Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture".

Donate to CCWOC

For more information on making a donation to CCWOC, please contact

Contact us

The Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB Canada