McMaster University didn’t have to look far to name their 2021-2022 writer-in-residence.
In September, the University named Hamilton local Pasha Malla as their latest writer-in-residence. Born in St. John’s Newfoundland and raised in London, Ontario, Malla spent time as an elementary school teacher in Toronto before pursuing graduate studies in writing at Concordia University in Montreal. He has lived in East Hamilton for the past six years.
Published in 2008, Malla’s debut book, a collection of short stories entitled The Withdrawal Method, won the Trillium Book Award and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. The book was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Malla’s second book, a collection of poetry, was also published in 2008. His first novel, People Park, was published in 2012. His anthology of works to date has won him an Arthur Ellis Award for crime fiction, two National Magazine Awards, and he has had stories included in the Journey Prize anthology. His writing has been shortlisted for both the Amazon Canada Best First Novel Award and the International Dublin Literary Award. Masha’s work has also appeared in The Walrus, the Globe and Mail and CBC Radio.
And as of September, he’ll be connecting with local writers as McMaster’s 2021-2022 Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer in Residence.
Led by the University’s Department of English and Cultural Studies and with participation by the broader university community and the Hamilton Public Library, Masha will work with emerging and established writers of Hamilton to provide feedback on their work. His broad experience gives him a wide breadth of knowledge to assist local writers regardless of what they may be working on and what stage it is at. The program is unique as Malla will work with writers across all of Hamilton through this program- not just those at the University.
“My goal as a mentor is to try to help writers take their work to the next level, whatever that may be.” Malla told McMaster University in a press release.
A consultation with Malla is free to book. Writers who are interested in receiving feedback from Malla are invited to book a thirty-minute virtual session. Once signed up, writers can send a limited amount of their work several weeks in advance for Malla to review. Feedback is provided via suggestions and comments in the document itself. Mentorship is provided via a verbal discussion during the appointment time.
In addition to offering consultations (virtually at the moment, due to the pandemic), Malla will also be hosting events with both McMaster and the Hamilton Public Library designed to assist writers in reaching the next stages of their career.
“As writer-in-residence, I will be hosting a number of different workshops about the professionalization process of writing. So, we’ll talk about how to write a grant, how to get an agent, how to pitch magazines and publishers and I’m also going to be hosting workshops on the craft and fiction of writing.”