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Rawi Hage Named Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence

Apr. 11, 2023
Rawi Hage’s award-winning books are infused with compassion and humour, even when they confront difficult subject matter. (Photo by Justin Latour)

Rawi Hage’s award-winning books are infused with compassion and humour, even when they confront difficult subject matter. (Photo by Justin Latour)

Rawi Hage is as clear-eyed and fearless a writer as this country has known. Book after book he descends into the darkness, returning with a story we require.— 2019 Jury Citation, Writers’ Trust Engel Findley Award  
Victoria University in the University of Toronto is pleased to announce that multi-award winning writer Rawi Hage has been appointed the Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence at Victoria College for 2023-2024. He will play a key role in mentoring and inspiring students in the Creative Expression and Society program and the Norman Jewison Stream of the Vic One program, and in fostering creative citizenship among the wider Vic U community.  
Born in Beirut, Hage survived the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s and 1980s before emigrating to Montreal in 1992. His writing is infused with compassion and humour, even when it confronts difficult subject matter.  
His first novel, De Niro’s Game (2006), won several awards, among them the prestigious IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. All five of his books have been shortlisted for either the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Giller Prize or the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize: De Niro’s Game, Cockroach (2008), Carnival (2012), Beirut Hellfire Society (2018), and Stray Dogs (2022). He has won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction twice, and in 2019, he received the Writers’ Trust Engel Findley Award, which recognized his entire body of work  
“It is my pleasure to welcome Rawi to our campus. We are honoured to have a writer of his accomplishment join our academic community,” said Professor Angela Esterhammer, principal of Victoria College. “Vic believes it is crucial for students to learn from leaders in their field who challenge and illuminate ideas. Rawi’s appointment as Shaftesbury Writer-in-Residence 2023-24 is another example of the depth of talent in our midst. It will provide both students and faculty with an enriching opportunity to learn from a luminary of contemporary writing.”  
“With his impressive body of work and unique perspective on the world of literature and the creative process, Rawi brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to Vic students,” said Professor Adam Sol, an award-winning poet who leads the Creative Expression and Society program at Victoria College.  
Hage is the third person to hold the prestigious Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence role. Thanks to a generous gift made to Victoria College by Shaftesbury,  a Toronto-based entertainment company founded by Vic alumna Christina Jennings, C.M., the Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence was previously held by acclaimed poets Canisia Lubrin in 2021-22 and Liz Howard in 2022-23.  
“My early experience at Vic has been a foundation to my professional success. At Shaftesbury, we are pleased to contribute to the tradition of offering young people the opportunity to learn from practicing artists in the fields of creative writing—the next generation of students will benefit greatly from Rawi Hage’s talent and ideas,” said Christina Jennings, the founder, chairman and president of Shaftesbury, which produces hit shows including Murdoch Mysteries, Hudson and Rex and Departure.  

The philanthropic support received from Vic alumni and friends has such an impact on students at Vic U and on what they can achieve. To learn more about how you too can make a difference, please visit here

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