Wayde Compton VPL's New Writer In Residence

Acclaimed writer, poet and historian Wayde Compton, who has turned spinning a turntable into sound poetry art, is the Vancouver Public Library’s seventh Writer in Residence.

During his four-month tenure, Compton, an English instructor and the author of three books, will mentor emerging young writers and explore the possibilities of combining re-mix culture and traditional literary expression at community readings and events. Using turntables, Compton's performance project involves sound recording, audio collage, live mixing and other aspects of the recorded word as a means of creating and editing poetry.

“Vancouver Public Library is thrilled to have Wayde Compton as our seventh Writer in Residence,” said Chief Librarian Sandra Singh. “Wayde’s unique approach to combining spoken word, sound recording and live mixing takes this popular and important residency in a new direction that will surely excite young writers.”

The residency allows the writer to spend 75 percent of the time writing and Compton will work on a short story collection. The remaining time will be spent on community projects and events and mentoring emerging writers one-on-one.

“The connection of the Writer in Residence to writers in the community is really important,” said Compton. “I think the act of writing is a civil act, and composing and reading creative works can be a vital part of making a good society.”

“Vancouver Public Library is central to my body of writing, in terms of the material the library acquires, houses, and protects. Its physical space is also essential for a writer like me who often creates through research.”

Compton’s first book, 49th Parallel Psalm (Arsenal Pulp Press), is dedicated to the memory of Emery Barnes and Stokely Carmichael and was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. This was followed by Performance Bond (Arsenal Pulp Press) and After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing and Religion (Arsenal Pulp Press), which also received rave reviews. Compton edited the groundbreaking Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature & Orature (Arsenal Pulp Press), which The Globe & Mail called a “treasure trove” and “valuable historical reference work that attempts to trace a cultural lineage for a population that has always been in flux.”

Compton founded Commodore Books and the Hogan's Alley Memorial Project. He lives in Vancouver and teaches English composition and literature at Emily Carr University of Art & Design and at Coquitlam College.

Emerging writers who would like a one-on-one consultation with Wayde Compton must apply to be considered. Information is available at www.vpl.ca/writer_in_residence.

Compton’s inaugural reading is on Tuesday, September 20 at 7 p.m. at the Central Library, Alice MacKay room. Admission is free.

The 2011 Writer-in-Residence program is made possible with financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Friends of the Vancouver Public Library.


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