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The Student Writer-in-Residence Program

This innovative program – unique in North America – was developed in 2013 by the University Students’ Council and the Department of English and Writing Studies. The mandate of the program is to provide support for an accomplished undergraduate writer while allowing other students to benefit from the writer’s creativity, expertise, and organizational skills. The SWIR fosters exchange among aspiring student writers and contributes to the culture of creativity across campus, within the London area, and across literary genres, media, and technologies.

Western’s First Student Writer-in-Residence: Alexandra Carrillo-Hayley (Winter 2013)

At the age of twelve, when her grandfather passed away, Alex Carrillo-Hayley turned to poetry as a means of dealing with her loss. Ever since then, writing has been an immense part of her life. Although she mostly writes free verse poetry, Alex has also tried her hand at short story writing, as well as cross-genre writing; her fourth year Creative Writing thesis project is what she calls a “poetic novella.” Although she has not personally written plays herself, Alex is also extremely interested in dramaturgy; her minor is in Dramatic Literature, and she was the Props Mistress for the English Department’s most recent production, The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Alex believes in the power of creative experimentation, and encourages all types of poetry, prose, playwriting, and screenwriting.

Alex views her role as Student Writer-in-Residence as an opportunity to couple her leadership skills with her love of writing, in an effort to reach out to writers all over campus. It is her hope that her office hours and drop-in writing sessions will both encourage closet writers to share their pieces, as well as motivate other students to write. She firmly believes that everyone has a writer inside of them, and her main goals as SWIR are: to foster more pride in artistic work, explore new ways of honouring creative work on campus, inspire more students to make time for writing in their daily lives, and overall, to strengthen Western’s creative community.

Alex will hold regular office hour on Mondays, 11:30 am-12:30 pm in University College room 184. Please drop by or make an appointment.

She will also host a weekly writing hour, during which students who want to write can come together in a shared, quiet space to write alongside the Student Writer-in-Residence. The weekly writing hour will be held in University Community Centre room 379 on Tuesdays from 2:30-3:30 pm.

Alex can be contacted at

Department of English - The University of Western Ontario
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