Berton House Writers’ Retreat
View from the Dome, photos by Tim Falconer
Heralded as "the best three months of your life" by past writers-in-residence, Berton House provides a remote northern setting where authors can concentrate on their work — or just get away to think. With special roots as Pierre Berton's childhood home, the cozy Dawson City cottage comes complete with a sprawling front porch and library of nostalgic canlit gems. Because every Canadian should experience the North.
Professional Canadian writers who have published at least one book and are established in any creative literary discipline (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, play/screenwriting, journalism) may apply for a three-month residency. Self-published writers or writers working in other genres are not eligible at this time.
Our current writer-in-residence is Drew Hayden Taylor, who is staying in Dawson City from April to June 2017. A playwright, fiction writer, and journalist from Curve Lake, Ontario, Drew Hayden Taylor is the author of numerous works including the novel Motorcycles and Sweetgrass and the play God and the Indian. While at Berton House he will be working on a new play that he describes as a “comedic murder mystery from the perspective of a Native woman.”
Upcoming 2017-18 Writers-in-Residence
Elizabeth Ruth (July to September 2017)
Toronto-based writer Elizabeth Ruth is the author of three novels, including Ten Good Seconds of Silence, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She will be working on her first collection of poetry, This Report Is Strictly Confidential, inspired by the experience and records of a developmentally delayed family member who was institutionalized long-term in a notorious residential hospital.
Wendi Stewart (October to December 2017)
Wendi Stewart is a writer from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and the author of the novel Meadowlark. She will be working on her third novel, War Paint, which tells the story of a white teacher in a First Nations school and tackles issues of truth and understanding.
Lawrence Hill (January to March 2018)
Lawrence Hill is the author of the novels The Book of Negroes and The Illegal, both of which won the Canada Reads competition. He is working on his 11th book, The Highway, about 3,000 African-American soldiers who were shipped from the Deep South to northern Canada to build the Alaska Highway. Hill visited the Berton House for four weeks in 2012 to fill in during a last-minute vacancy.
Sandy Pool (April to June 2018)
Sandy Pool is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Calgary. She is the author of two poetry collections and a past finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award and a Trillium Book Award. She will be working on The Ebbinghaus Illusion, a memoir detailing the suicide of her former romantic partner.
About the Program
Inspired by the late Pierre Berton, Berton House is owned and operated by the Writers' Trust of Canada. Operational support is provided by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Dawson City Community Library Board, the Klondike Visitors Association, and the Whitehorse Public Library.
Further gratitude goes to Aeroplan for their generosity in supporting travel of the writers-in-residence to and from the Berton House Writer’s Retreat through their Beyond Miles program. Consider donating your own miles to support Berton House.
For additional information about the program visit bertonhouse.ca
“My stay at Berton House was like stepping into another dimension. I was satisfyingly productive in a house that welcomes each newcomer and allows us to focus on our work. But I also felt the pull that Dawson City, and the North, has always exerted on people: the excitement of Spring Break-up, the magnificence of the landscape, the adrenalin of endless light at midsummer. I met extraordinary people, relished my new friends’ eccentricity and creativity, and cannot wait to return.”
“I came to Dawson City expecting to do a lot of typing; what I wasn't prepared for was how relentlessly fascinating a place it is. Here you're confronted with history at every corner, and the past looms large in a way you don't find most places in Canada. I had a great summer, and would recommend the Berton House residency to any writer interested in getting work done — and some thinking, too.”
For more information about Berton House please contact:
James Davies, Program Director
416 504-8222 x 245