The University of Winnipeg



2021 Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence

Acclaimed Canadian poet and short story writer Souvankham Thammavongsa's residency will take place completely online in the new year.

Souvankham Thammavongsa, photo credit Sarah Bodri

Acclaimed Canadian poet and short story writer Souvankham Thammavongsa is The University of Winnipeg’s 2021 Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence. Thammavongsa is also the recent winner of the esteemed 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection, How To Pronounce Knife, which was also named one of the best books of spring by The New York Times, Salon, The Millions, and Vogue.

This year’s Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence program will be completely online, taking place Monday, February 1 to Friday, March 5 (excluding Reading Week, February 14-20).

I am excited to meet students and members in the community.

Souvankham Thammavongsa

Thammavongsa will give her virtual reading via Zoom on Thursday, February 4 at 4:00 pm, and will deliver the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence Distinguished Lecture via Zoom on Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00 pm. Please check the UWinnipeg website for the pre-registration link that will be available early in the new year.

“I am excited and deeply grateful to be given the opportunity to focus on writing,” said Thammavongsa. “I believe it will be a dramatic creative period of intensified writing. I am also honoured to join the list of writers who have held this residency, to be listed among them. Above all, the proximity to the writer after whom this residency is named is an absolute distinction. I am excited to meet students and members in the community. I know their generosity and openness and care will be encouraging and inspiring.”

Thammavongsa is also the author of four acclaimed poetry books. Her short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife, was also a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a TIME 100 Must-Read Books of 2020. Her stories have won an O. Henry Award and appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Granta, NOON, Journey Prize Stories 2016, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018, O. Henry Prize Stories 2019, and Best Canadian Stories 2020. She was born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, and was raised and educated in Toronto where she now lives.

Past writers in this program include Margaret Sweatman, Sandra Birdsell, John Weier, Maria Campbell, David Bergen, Ivan Coyote, Debbie Paterson, Gregory Scofield, Chandra Mayor, Jennifer Still, Rick Chafe, GMB Chomichuk, Katherena Vermette, Méira Cook, and Garry Thomas Morse.

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