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Writer in Residence

For one term each academic year, the Department of English welcomes a writer in residence to engage in a range of literary events and to offer advice and mentorship to creative writing students. The program was initiated by Carolyn Smart in 2006 and featured, in that year, renowned dub poet Lillian Allen. Since that time, Queen’s has hosted a diverse array of literary artists working across genres and media.

2023 Writer-in-Residence: Francesca Ekwuyasi 

Francesca Ekwuyasi Francesca Ekwuyasi is a learner, artist, and storyteller born in Lagos, Nigeria. She was awarded the Writers Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging Writers in 2022 for her debut novel Butter Honey Pig Bread (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020). Butter Honey Pig Bread was also shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction Re-Lit Award, and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Dublin Literary Award. CBC's Canada Reads: Canada's Annual Battle of the Books selected Butter Honey Pig Bread as one of five contenders in 2021 where it came in 2nd place. Forthcoming October 24th is Curious Sounds: a Dialogue in Three Movements, an art book collaboration with Roger Mooking

Office hours: By Appointment. Email francesca at


Highlights of the 2021-2022 Residency

Our 2022 Writer in Residence

Omar Al Akkad: What Strange Paradise?Omar El Akkad, former Creative Writing student with the Department of English at Queen’s University, is an author and a journalist. His work emerges at a crossroads of social engagement and investigative journalism. From Afghanistan, to Guantánamo Bay and many other locations in the world, Akkad’s writing and field journailism spans across many complex geographies. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Le Monde, Guernica, GQ, and many other newspapers and magazines.

His books include What Strange Paradise (fiction, novel, 2021) and debut novel American War (2018) which is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages.

His debut novel won many prestigious awards including the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and has been nominated for more than ten other awards.

It was also listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, NPR, and Esquire, and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.


Events: 2021-2022 Residency 

Omar El Akkad In Conversation with Grace O'Connell and Moez Surani:

Watch Omar discuss memoir with Elamin Abdelmahmoud: 

Watch the 2022 Giller Prize Event Featuring Omar: 


Highlights of the 2020-21 Residency

20/21 Writer-in-Residence Inaugural Reading

Maroon Time: Time and Ancestry in the Poem
Kaie Kellough

Publishing Landscape for BIPOC Writers

Kaie Kellough and Armand Ruffo in conversation

2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and author of How to Pronounce Knife

Kaie Kellough in conversation with Souvankham Thammavongsa (March 5, 2021)

Learn more about our Scotiabank Giller Prize event…

Language, Liberation, and Design

Kevin Yuen Kit Lo and Dani Spinosa
Moderated by Kaie Kellough (March 16, 2021)

Highlights of the 2022-2023 Residency

photo listing Peters event


Past Writers in Residence Since 2006

Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad


Omar El Akkad, former Creative Writing student with the Department of English at Queen’s University, is an author and a journalist. His work emerges at a crossroads of social engagement and investigative journalism.

Kaie Kellough

Kaie Kellough


Novelist, poet, and sound performer.

He is the winner of the 2020 QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction; a finalist for the Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal 2020; and was longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin


Poet, teacher, and editor. Her book, Voodoo Hypothesis, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert award, the Pat Lowther award and was a finalist for the Raymond Souster award.

Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez


Proud queer woman of colour, radical mother, activist, theatre practitioner, award-winning author, and Outgoing Artistic Director of b current Performing Arts.

Karen Solie

Karen Solie


Writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. She is the winner of the Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize.

Emily Pohl-Weary

Emily Pohl-Weary


Poet, YA novelist, biographer and arts educator. She is the winner of the Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Society.

Steven Heighton

Steven Heighton


Poet, novelist, short story and non-fiction author. He is the winner of the Gerald Lampert Award and four Gold National Magazine awards.

Photo: Mary Huggard

Tim Wynne-Jones

Tim Wynne-Jones


Internationally-acclaimed novelist, YA novelist, and Children's Author. He has won the Governor-Generals' Award for Children's Literature, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work that is considered inspirational to Canadian Youth.

Diane Schoemperlen

Diane Schoemperlen


Internationally-acclaimed novelist and writer of non-fiction. She has won the Governor-General's Award for Fiction, and the Marian Engel Award.

Phil Hall

Phil Hall


Poet, winner of the Governor-General's Award for Poetry, and the Trillium Book Award.

Photo: Ann Silversides

Helen Humphreys

Helen Humphreys


Acclaimed novelist, poet, author of non-fiction, and the winner of the Lambda Award and the Harbourfront Festival Prize.

Billeh Nickerson

Billeh Nickerson


Poet, professor of Creative Writing at Kwantlen University College, and the co-editor of Seminal: The Anthology of Canada's Gay Male Poets.

Department of English, Queen's University

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