Writer in Residence

Author Karolyn Smardz Frost

Writer in Residence - Karolyn Smardz Frost

Each winter a Canadian writer spends the winter months at the Haig-Brown House engaging in public programming with the writing community, and working on their writing.  

Karolyn Smardz Frost is an award-winning author, historian, archaeologist, and educator committed to discovering and sharing the lost narratives of our human past. She speaks and writes widely for popular audiences on the subject of our nation’s rich multicultural heritage. A founder of the public archaeology/public history movement in Canada, she established Toronto’s Archaeological Resource Centre in 1985, where more than 100,000 schoolchildren and volunteers took part in excavation projects. Karolyn won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction for her landmark volume, I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad. Her freedom-seeker biography, Steal Away Home (2017) received the Speaker’s Award for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the J.J. Talman Award for the best book on Ontario history over the past three years, and was a finalist for the Atlantic Book Award. She is a sought-after speaker and consults for government agencies including museums, television, digital media, schools and multiple stakeholder groups, as well as book clubs, libraries and authors’ groups.

January 20 at 1:00pm – please join us in welcoming Karolyn in a Meet-the-writer reception at the Museum. Karolyn will speak out her newest projects and be available for questions.

February 17 at 1:00pm – Rivercity Players Theatre, 1080 Hemlock Street.
Haig-Brown Lecture with Karolyn Smardz Frost. Karolyn will speak about her field work in uncovering the extraordinary life of Kentucky freedom seekers Lucie and Thornton Blackburn. Karolyn will also briefly describe the City of Victoria’s own history of African American migration. In 1858, ships bearing 800 Black men, women and children arrived in the province at the invitation of Governor James Douglas. They began hotels, restaurants and outfitting businesses, and one, Mifflin Gibbs, became the first African Canadian elected to public office. Tickets are $10 and available online and at the door of Rivercity Players Theatre on event day while supplies last. 

Announcement of the Living Legacy Project

The Museum at Campbell River is pleased to announce an exciting new project for the fall of 2024.  Entitled the ‘Living Legacy Project’, this 5 month initiative will replace the annual Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence Program for one year.

The Living Legacy Project will examine the ongoing influence of Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown through the work of Celia Haig-Brown and family.  From November 2024 to April 2025, Celia will return to the Haig-Brown House to work closely with the Museum in addressing the various aspects of a ‘Living Legacy’.

The Project aims to address one compelling central question: How do local legacies evolve and change alongside communities?

As communities shift over time, does our understanding and interpretation of the history of a place evolve alongside?  Is history frozen in time?  Or does our understanding of local history change alongside a developing community?

To address these questions, the Living Legacy Project will offer a series of community engagements, including talks, workshops, school visits, seminars and  roundtable discussions.

How to Apply to the Writer in Residence Program

The next intake for applicants will be Fall 2024 with a deadline for applications of March 31, 2025.

The residency entails spending the winter months (or a portion thereof) living in the Haig-Brown Heritage House.

The modest four bedroom house reflects the character of writer Roderick Haig-Brown and his wife Ann. Located in a peaceful setting on the banks of the Campbell River on Vancouver Island, it contains a Heritage library and is surrounded by two acres of garden and 17 acres of public parkland.

The Writer’s time will be divided between pursuing personal writing projects and providing literary advice and support to the local community, with writing time favoured on a 60/40 basis. The writer would also participate in the Museum at Campbell River’s winter programming.

A stipend of up to $2,000 per month, depending on available funding, will be provided.

Application Information Sheet

Applications should include:

  • A resume or CV (maximum two pages)
  • A list of publications
  • A sample of work in progress (10 – 20 pages)
  • A letter of interest outling:
    • Ideas and themes for proposed community programming.
    • Reasons why the residency would further your work including an indication of what personal writing project you would be working on during this residency. 
    • Experience mentoring emerging writers.
  • Two letters of reference

Forward your application package via email or mail to Ken Blackburn, Museum at Campbell River, Box 70 Stn A, Campbell River, BC V9W 4Z9.

Email is: public.programs@crmuseum.ca .  

Please note, the next intake for applicants will take place in fall 2024 with a deadline for applications of March 31, 2025. For one time only, there will be a one year gap between Residencies.

Past Writers in Residence

2004/2005Don McKayVictoria, B.C.
2005/2006David Carpenter Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
2006/2007Myrna KostashEdmonton, Alberta
2007/2008Brian BrettSaltspring Island, B.C.
2008/2009Marjorie DoyleSt. John’s, Newfoundland
2009/2010Harry ThurstonAmherst, Nova Scotia
2010/2011Patricia RobertsonWhitehorse, Yukon
2011/2012Trevor HerriotSaskatoon, Saskatchewan
2012/2013Charlotte Gill Powell River, B.C.
2013/2014Andrew NikiforukCalgary, Alberta
2014/2015David CarpenterSaskatoon, Saskatchewan
2015/2016Wayne GradyKingston, Ontario
2016/2017John Donlan Vancouver, B.C.
2017/2018Bev SellarsSoda Creek, B.C.
2018/2019Terry JordanSaskatoon, Saskatchewan
2019/2020Eden RobinsonKitimaat, B.C.
2021/2022Danny RamadanVancouver, B.C.
2022/2023Andrea RoutleyVancouver, B.C.