Alice Munro Chair in Creativity

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The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity will recognize and honour our Nobel laureate, inspire student writers, build diverse cultural communities within the university and beyond, and foster creative expression of all kinds.

Alice Munro is counted among Western University’s most extraordinary alumni. Her first connection to the Department of English came in 1949, when she entered Western as an undergraduate pursuing an English major and shortly thereafter achieved her first publication in a campus literary magazine, Folio. In 1974, she served as Western’s Department of English’s third Writer-in-Residence, and in 1976, Western University recognized Munro’s remarkable literary achievements with an honorary degree, the only such honour she has ever accepted. In October 2013, Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as a "master of the contemporary short story."

The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity will:

  • Lead the creative culture of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, serving as a mentor and a model;
  • Participate in graduate and/or undergraduate teaching; Focus on the production of creative work, alongside a study of creativity;
  • Assume a leadership role between the University and the local creative community;
  • Allow the University to enhance and expand the Writer-in-Residence program;
  • Provide the University with access to a world of writing and artistic creation beyond Canada, allowing the University to attract international authors and artists as speakers and collaborators;
  • Present the annual Alice Munro Lecture on Creativity.

 Alice Munro Chair in Creativity Ivan Coyote 2020-2022

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Award-winning author and seasoned stage performer Ivan Coyote has been named the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. It is an appointment that will bring to the Western community a new level of engagement for a new generation of artists.

“Ivan possesses a rare and remarkable gift – a voice that is intensely intimate, personal and able to connect directly with a broad and diverse audience,” said Michael Milde, Arts and Humanities Dean. “Writer, performer, memoirist, and storyteller, Ivan Coyote is a multi-talented creative artist whose passion, empathy and social engagement shine through in person and in their strong digital presence – truly an Alice Munro Chair for the 21st century." Read more in Western News

Coyote follows award-winning Canadian novelist Nino Ricci, who served as the inaugural holder of the Munro Chair.

Listen to Ivan Coyote on CBC Afternoon Drive on June 9 


Alice Munro Chair in Creativity Nino Ricci 2018-2020

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The inaugural holder of the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity is Nino Ricci, who will be at Western until July 2020. Since July 2018, Nino has been involved in a number of student and campus-focused activities including:

Podcast

Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are? is hosted by Nino Ricci, the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity at Western University. Each episode, the multiple award-winning Canadian novelist talks to a faculty member from the Western community who makes a difference in their field by challenging old assumptions or forging new models for how we make sense of the world. These are people who show us that creativity lies at the heart of innovation in any field. They also show us how creative solutions often come from building bridges across the disciplines and break down the barriers that often blind us to new approaches.


Teaching

ENGLISH 4570F – Advanced Fiction Workshop

This is workshop course directed at students interested in writing a novel or a collection of linked short stories, with a focus on the crucial early stages of the writing process. Students are expected to complete 25 to 40 pages of an early draft of a novel or story collection over the course of the term. Readings will include excerpts from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction, Stephen King’s On Writing, and James Wood’s How Fiction Works, as well as selected short stories and novel excerpts. Learn more

ENGLISH 2091G – The Creative Moment  

This course looks at some of the factors that govern creativity, examining significant historical examples of turning-point moments across a range of disciplines and using literary texts as a way of exploring how evolution in the arts feeds and is fed by evolution in other fields. The course opens with an overview of recent research on creativity, then focuses on three distinct cultural moments: the rise of drama in Elizabethan England, the birth of modernism in the early 20th century, and the sudden flourishing of Canadian culture in the 1960s.


Research & Creative Work

  • Research trip to Paris, Berlin and Vienna to complete research for a novel-in-progress set in Europe in the fifteen months preceding the First World War
  • Completed some 40000 words of the second draft of the novel over the course of my first year as Alice Munro Chair

Other activities: 

  • Keynote speaker at conferences on Canadian Literature at University of Udine and at University of Naples
  • Featured speaker at SASAH’s “Humanize the Future” lecture series, Conrad Hall
  • Reading and panel with Jane Urquhart at London Wordsfest 2018
  • Featured as a “Living Book” at Huron College’s Living Library Event
  • Author visit to Writer’s Craft class at London’s Westminster Secondary School
  • Class visits at Western and meeting with the student writing group The Coterie
  • “Forms of Narrative” exhibition at ArtLab gallery by students of AH 3393G
  • Talk on creativity in Western’s Senior Alumni lecture series
  • Juror and Presenter, Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story
  • Guest speaker at Western’s Indigenous Writers’ Circle (forthcoming)
  • Season Two of podcast “Who Do You Think You Are?” (forthcoming)
  • Contributor to charity fundraiser The Awesome Music Project: Songs of Hope and Happiness and presenter at Kitchener launch (forthcoming Nov 2019)
  • Interdisciplinary panel at 2019 London Wordsfest with selected podcast guests (forthcoming Nov 2019)
  • Keynote speaker at conference on literature and immigration at University of Campobasso, Italy (forthcoming Nov 2019)

In the Media

Inaugural Alice Munro Chair in Creativity, Nino Ricci, speaks as part of the SASAH Speakers' Series on the act of creativity. September 2018. Western University.

Ricci to explore creativity in every campus corner
Adela Talbot, Western News, September 2018

Nino Ricci discusses new role on CBC London Morning
CBC Radio London, September 2018 

London's Words festival brings writers, readers together
London Free Press, November 2018

The Guiding Hand Of Creativity
Western News, December 2018