It’s wonderful to join the lineage of UWindsor writers-in-residence, says Madeline Sonik.
An accomplished journalist, writer, anthologist and teacher with roots in the city, she will conduct a free public reading of her work at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 5, in McPherson Lounge, Alumni Hall and Conference Centre.
“I feel very fortunate to be offered this position because of all the wonderful writers who have been here in the past,” she said.
Dr. Sonik was born in Detroit and moved around a lot in her childhood, including five formative teen years exploring Windsor in the 1970s. She now lives in Victoria, B.C., but she is back in Windsor for the winter 2015 semester, providing students with feedback and helping them develop their own work.
She says these are not just English majors; she sees students from all disciplines.
“They’ve had no formal training but often you get a purer voice and you can see what their natural bent is,” said Sonik. “You help them a little bit by giving them techniques to use and incorporate into what they are already doing.”
Sonik is also gathering material to write a memoir about her connection to Windsor. Long before she lived here, her grandparents immigrated to Canada from different parts of Eastern Europe. She says she can connect with her grandfather and his experiences by simply going to places where he would have spent time, like his house that still stands on Drouillard Road.
“The way I write personal essays it brings in a lot of the past,” said Sonik. “I’ll bring in a lot of Windsor’s past because I believe the past of any place shapes a person, shapes the people who live there. I know it has bearing on who I am, who my family was and probably what my future became.”
Sonik teaches in the Writing Department at the University of Victoria. Her books include a novel, Arms; short fiction, Drying the Bones; a children’s novel, Belinda and the Dustbunnys; two poetry collections, Stone Sightings and The Book of Changes; and a volume of essays, Afflictions & Departures.
Free self-publishing workshops with Sonik at the Windsor Public Library in February and March are open to the community, and local writers are invited to send their work to Sonik for guidance. Contact her through the English department, 519-253-3000, ext. 2288.