Writer in Residence

File photo of John Donlan

SPL is pleased to announce our 34th Writer in Residence, John J. Donlan. The residency runs from Sep 2014 to May 2015.

The Writer in Residence acts as a mentor to writers in the community, reviewing manuscripts and providing criticism and advice about publishing.

The Writer offers individual consultations, group workshops and programs, author readings and participates in other special events during their residency.



Office Hours and Contact Information

Tuesday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday 12:30 - 9 p.m.
Holiday closures: All library locations are closed on Monday, May 18 for Victoria Day.
We are closed Sundays starting Sunday, May 17 until Sunday, Sep 13.

If you would like John to look at your work, please email him 10 pages of prose or poetry.

Get inspired! See this sample of John Donlan's writing process.

For more information
Phone: 306.975.7598
Email: j.donlan@saskatoonlibrary.ca


Introducing John J. Donlan


A native of Baysville, in Ontario's Muskoka region, Donlan's poems and reviews have appeared in anthologies and leading journals in Canada, the United States and Iran. He is poetry editor with Brick Books, a retired public librarian and has led writing workshops in schools, libraries, universities and art galleries across North America.

His collections of poetry are: Domestic Economy (Brick Books, 1990, reprinted 1997), Baysville (House of Anansi, 1993), Green Man (Ronsdale Press, 199), Spirit Engine (Brick Books, 2008) and Call Me the Breeze (Alfred Gustav Press, 2013).

Saskatoon Public Library is grateful to Canada Council for the Arts for supporting our grant application and co-funding this residency.

Spring 2015 Schedule

Saskatoon Public Library is grateful to Canada Council for the Arts for co-funding the 2014 - 2015 Writer in Residence Program. 
Three Poets
Frances Morrison Central Library / The Gallery
Wednesday / May 20 / 7 – 9 p.m.
SPL Writer in Residence John Donlan, Victoria’s Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer, and Ariel Gordon, prize-winning Winnipeg poet and mushroom photographer, read from their work.
Presented in partnership with Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and Canada Council for the Arts.
Writer’s Showcase
Frances Morrison Central Library / Meeting Room
Thursday / May 21 / 7 – 9 p.m.
SPL Writer in Residence John Donlan introduces a selection of the writers who have worked with him during his term. They will read briefly from their work give us their perspective on the writer in residence program. 

Are you an aspiring writer looking for advice? Check out these lists of materials compiled by John Donlan, Writer in Residence.


Getting Published

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Book coverThe Canadian Writer’s Market: The Essential Guide for Freelance Writers, McClelland & Stewart, 2013

Book coverChildren’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2015 

Book coverThe Fast-Track Course on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal by Stephen Blake Mettee, Quill Driver Books, 2012

Book coverFormatting and Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino, Writer’s Digest Books, 2009

Book coverHow to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen, Writer’s Digest Books, 2010

Book coverNovel and Short Story Writer’s Market, Writer’s Digest Books, 2015

Book coverPoet’s Market, Writer’s Digest Books, 2015

Book coverWriters' and Artists' Yearbook 2013: A Directory for Writers, Artists, Playwrights, Designers, Illustrators and Photographers, Bloomsbury, 2012

Book coverWriter’s Market, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2015


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Printer-friendly List (pdf)

Book coverThe Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier, Writer’s Digest Books, 2010

Book coverGuide to Self-Publishing edited by Robert Lee Brewer, Writer’s Digest Books, 2014

Book coverThe Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use by April L. Hamilton, Writer’s Digest Books, 2010

Book coverPromote Your Book: Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author by Patricia Fry, Allworth Press, 2011

Book coverSelf Publishing in Canada: A Complete Guide to Designing, Printing and Selling Your Book by Suzanne Anderson, Half Acre Pub, 2011

Book coverSell Your Book Like Wildfire: The Writer’s Guide to Marketing & Publicity by Rob Eagar, Writer’s Digest Books, 2012


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Writing a Memoir

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Book coverHandling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir by Beth Kephart, Gotham Books, 2013

Book coverLeaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal: The Art of Transforming a Life Into Stories by Alexandra Johnson, Little, Brown, 2001


Book coverThe Memoir Book by Patti Miller, Allen and Unwin, 2007


Book coverOld Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg, Free Press, 2008


Book coverShimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir by Lisa Dale Norton, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008


Book coverThinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas, Sterling Pub. Co., 2008


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Poetry Booklist

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Poetry Instruction


Book coverBecoming a Poet: Elizabeth Bishop with Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell by David Kalstone, 2001

Book coverLetters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, 2000

Book coverLives of the Poets by Michael Schmidt,  1998

Book coverA Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver,  1994

Book coverThe Poet’s Work: 29 Poets on the Origins and Practice of Their Art by Reginald Gibbons,  1989


Poetry Collections


Book coverGood Poems Selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor, 2002

Book coverThe New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry Edited by Carmine Starnino, 2005

Book coverThe Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry Edited by Jahan Ramazani, Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair, 2003
Volume 1, Modern Poetry
Volume 2, Contemporary Poetry

Book coverPalgrave’s Golden Treasury Edited by Francis Turner Palgrave and John Press, 2002

Book coverPoet’s Choice by Edward Hirsch, 2006

Book coverThe Rattle Bag Edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, 1982

The School Bag Edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, 2005 

A Treasury of Great Poems: An Inspiring Collection of the Best-Loved, Most Moving Verse in the English Language Compiled and selected by Louis Untermeyer, 1993


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Prose Booklist

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Prose Instruction


Book coverBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LIfe by Ann Lamott, 1995

Book coverThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, 2009

Book coverAn Introduction to Fiction by Dana Gioia and X. J.  Kennedy, 2009

Book coverOn Writing: a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, 2000

Book coverA Passion for Narrative: A Guide for Writing Fiction by Jack Hodgins, 2001

Book coverTo Tell the Truth: Practice and Craft in Narrative Nonfiction by Connie D. Griffin, 2008  

Book cover Write, Guardian Books, 2012

Book coverWrite a Novel and Get it Published by Nigel Watts, 2012

Book coverWriting Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, Shambhala, 2010 


Prose Collections 


Book coverThe Best American Short Stories of the Century edited by John Updike, 1999 

Book coverThe New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English selected by Margaret Atwood and Robert Weaver, 1995 

Book coverThe Oxford Book of English Short Stories edited by A.S. Byatt, 2009


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