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Dr. Ells earns writing fellowship at Hawthornden castle


Congratulations to Dr. Louise Ells, secretary for the school of graduate studies, on being awarded a Hawthornden Writing Fellowship.  Dr. Ells will spend a month writing in a castle in Scotland beginning in January.

The Hawthornden Writing Fellowship was established in 1982 by Drue Heinz, DBE, who owns the 17th century Hawthornden castle, once the home of poet William Drummond.  Past recipients of this prestigious award include Ian Rankin, Di Brandt, Vanessa Gebbie, Les Murray, Olive Senior and Fiona Sampson.

Dr. Ells grew up in the Ottawa Valley, then combined random jobs (chef, roofer, co-pilot on a submarine) with years of travel through the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, including an overland trip from London to Kathmandu.  After earning a master of arts in creative writing from Bath Spa University, for which she wrote a novel and a poetry cycle, she earned a PhD from Anglia Ruskin University.  Her doctoral dissertation comprised Notes Towards Recovery, a collection of thematically linked short stories, and an exegesis examining Alice Munro’s revision strategies in Dear Life.  Dr. Ells has presented at conferences in London, Colchester, Cambridge and Vienna; a highlight of her PhD journey was discussing Munro’s work with Dame Gillian Beer at Clare Hall, Cambridge University during Canada Week.  Her fiction has been published in HARTS & Minds, The Masters Review, Words and Women: Two, The Cardiff Review, Open Minds Quarterly, and Crisp, amongst other magazines and anthologies.

Dr. Ells is looking forward to living without wifi for a month, which means no internet, no email, no social media, and no online ‘researching’ which can distract for hours.  Her past students can all recite her favourite E. L. Doctorow quote:  “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”

Playwright Ben Johnson stayed at Hawthornden castle in 1619 and Dr. Ells is extremely proud to follow in his footsteps almost 400 years later.
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