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plunkett_dixon Berton House Writers-in-Residence Photos by Berton House writers-in-residence Shelagh Plunkett and Nicole Dixon

Writers’ Trust Announces Future Berton House Residents

Writers travelling to Canada’s North

January 19, 2016
Toronto – The Writers’ Trust of Canada is announcing the 2016–17 slate of writers to attend the Berton House Writers’ Retreat, Canada’s most sought-after residency program. Each writer will travel to Dawson City, Yukon, to live and work for three months in the childhood home of noted Canadian author Pierre Berton. Past writers-in-residence include Charlotte Gray, Lawrence Hill, and Kim Fu.

“A residency at Pierre Berton’s childhood home in the idyllic Dawson City offers a unique opportunity for Canadian writers to immerse themselves in their work, in Canadian literary history, and in the Yukon’s vibrant arts community,” said Mary Osborne, executive director of the Writers’ Trust. “The Writers’ Trust is proud to offer authors this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

2016-17 Berton House writers-in-residence Claire Caldwell, Debra Komar,  Stacey Matson, and Drew Hayden Taylor

The writers selected are:

Claire Caldwell 

(July to September 2016)
Toronto-based poet Caldwell cites her early childhood spent in the Yukon as the source of her first inspiration to write. She will be working on her second full-length poetry manuscript, picking up themes of the natural world that she explored in her debut collection, Invasive Species.

Debra Komar 
(October to December 2016)
PEI writer Komar, a former forensic scientist and professor, writes historical nonfiction using modern forensic science to re-examine historic Canadian crimes. The author of four previous books, she will be working on a fifth, exploring a criminal trial in 1920s Yukon.

Stacey Matson 
(January to March 2017)
Matson is a Vancouver-based writer of novels for younger readers, including Scenes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius. She is working on a new series of YA novels about the capers of a group of pre-teen girls locked in an aquarium overnight.

Drew Hayden Taylor 
(April to June 2017)
Playwright, fiction writer, and journalist Taylor, from Curve Lake, Ontario, is the author of numerous works including the novel Motorcycles and Sweetgrass and the play God and the Indian. He is working on a new play that he describes as a “comedic murder mystery from the perspective of a Native woman.”

The current writer in residence is Shelagh Plunkett, a Montreal-based author currently at work on a nonfiction manuscript entitled Caught by All That’s Come Before. In April 2016, a former Poet Laureate of Halifax, Shauntay Grant, begins her residency.

About the Selection Process

The program received 73 applications from writers across the country. The selection committee was composed of two past writers-in-residence, nonfiction writer Chris Turner and playwright Colleen Murphy, and Dan Davidson, editor of The Klondike Sun.

About the Berton House Writers’ Retreat

Created in 1996, Berton House provides a three-month residency for writers in Pierre Berton’s childhood home in Dawson City. In addition to time to focus on their writing, residents receive a monthly honorarium, perform public readings, and are encouraged to become involved with the community. Professional Canadian writers who have published at least one book and are established in any creative literary discipline are eligible. The program is administered and funded by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Support is provided by the Canada Council for the Arts, Dawson City Community Library, Klondike Visitors Association, and Whitehorse Public Library. Travel assistance is provided by Aeroplan through their Beyond Miles program. For further information visit

About the Writers’ Trust of Canada

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs, including literary awards, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country.


For more information and interview opportunities, contact:
Becky Toyne, 416-871-0502 

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