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South Shore Public Libraries welcomes Chris Benjamin as its first writer in residence


Chris Benjamin is the South Shore Public Libraries’ first writer in residence. He will be mentoring and working with local writers over the next year to help foster the South Shore’s writing community. - Nicola Davison
Chris Benjamin is the South Shore Public Libraries’ first writer in residence. He will be mentoring and working with local writers over the next year to help foster the South Shore’s writing community. - Nicola Davison - Contributed

Benjamin says he is excited to share knowledge with local scribblers

Chris Benjamin is a writer, an editor and thanks to his new writer in residence gig, finds himself in a locale he says is reminiscent to Murder, She Wrote.

“It’s a place you’d expect to find writers,” said Benjamin of Lunenburg, where he will spend the next year. “There’s all these nooks and crannies, great old houses.”

And although he doesn’t expect to solve any crimes à la Jessica Fletcher, Benjamin said he is excited to begin his tenure as the first ever writer in residence for the South Shore Public Libraries.

He added he is hopeful to add to the town’s burgeoning arts community over the next several months.

“It’s a real arts hub for such a small place,” he said, noting Lunenburg’s two publishing houses, three bookstores and literary festival.

The library’s writer in residence program was made possible through a Canada Council for the Arts grant.

Having already worked a similar program in Pictou, Benjamin explained his new position as an opportunity to share his knowledge with local scribblers.

He will also be working on his own projects, which includes a new collection of short stories and a novel.

“I’m just excited to help writers, most of all. I think there's a lot of writers just slogging away in isolation and unsure what to do. I remember when I was at that stage,” said Benjamin.

“It’s great to break through the isolation and get together.”

When asked about what he has planned, Benjamin said he will be meeting and working with local writers as well as running workshops.

The workshops will be a combination of singular topics — like the science of constructing a sentence — and series’ on larger concepts like writing a novel.

He said the workshops are free and offer locals the perfect opportunity to hone their skills, no matter their project.

“People write for different reasons. Some for their families, some for personal reasons, some to get published. I can offer advice,” said Benjamin.

Lastly, he said the program allowed him to help emerging writers while budgeting time for his own projects.

“Every writer dreams of that but very few get it,” he said.

Upcoming South Shore Public Libraries workshops

  • Formulating research questions – what you need to know to write what you know PART I: May 2
  • Formulating research questions PART II: May 9
  • The appeal of odd folks: building character PART I: May 16
  • The appeal of odd folks: building character PART II: May 30
  • The art of short story writing PART I: June 6
  • The art of short story writing PART II: June 13
  • The art of short story writing PART III: June 20

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