Award-winning Children’s Author and Editor to Share Storied Career with Trent Students

September 24, 2019

Shelley Tanaka to enrich student experience and build community ties in both Durham and Peterborough as 2019-20 Ashley Fellow

Shelley Tanaka, 2019/2020 Ashley Fellow at Trent University

A notable international children’s author and editor, with an extensive career in both writing and publishing, will join an esteemed roster of visiting scholars as the 2019-20 Ashley Fellow at Trent University. This year, Shelley Tanaka also becomes the first Ashley Fellow to have residencies at both Trent’s Peterborough and Durham GTA campuses. 

“With a dynamic skillset and energy, Shelley will be drawing some fresh faces, including parents and youth to the Trent campuses – in addition to providing valuable career expertise to current Trent students,” noted Dr. Rita Bode, professor of English Literature at Trent, and co-coordinator, with Dr. Margaret Steffler, of the Ashley Fellow. “Students across multiple disciplines in both the humanities and social sciences will benefit from Shelley Tanaka’s residency as this year’s Ashley Fellow,” added Dr. Steffler, “including graduate students in the English MA in Public Texts who will have the opportunity to learn from her experience in the publishing industry.”

Ms. Tanaka’s time as the Ashley Fellow will feature residencies at both Trent campuses, starting at Trent University Durham GTA from October 7-11, 2019 and continuing in the winter term, at Trent Peterborough’s Traill College from January 27-31, 2020. A highlight of her residency in both Durham and Peterborough will be two public lectures, Children’s Books as “Windows and Mirrors”: Stories from the Publishing Trenches. The public lecture at Trent Durham GTA will take place on Wednesday, October 9 at 7:00 p.m., and at Traill College in Peterborough on Wednesday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Throughout her time as a visiting scholar, Ms. Tanaka will contribute to the academic experience of students in workshops, lectures and class visits, as well as events that are open to the broader community.

“I’m so looking forward to engaging in the kinds of wide-ranging conversations that have always been the best part of university life, and talking to students about how we can reflect and open up the world to today's kids — as writers, publishers and youth advocates,” noted Ms. Tanaka.

For the past 35 years, Ms. Tanaka has been the fiction editor at Groundwood Books, one of Canada’s foremost children’s book publishers where she has worked with some of the top Canadian children’s authors. In addition to her role has editor, she is an author - Ms. Tanaka has written more than twenty books for children and young adults.

Ms. Tanaka is also noted for bringing international voices and stories to Canadian readers, including a 2012 novel entitled, Nobody Knows, which adapts a survival story of a twelve year old boy living with his siblings after being abandoned by their mother in a Tokyo apartment. Her other works resonate with many readers on the challenges of the immigrant experience – a great example of the experience she will bring to her exchanges in the University community.

About the Ashley Fellowship
The Ashley Fellow is a visiting scholar hosted each year by one of Trent University’s Colleges. The fellowship is funded by a bequest from the late Professor C.A. Ashley, long-time friend of Trent University and an enthusiastic proponent of the role that informal contacts of college life can play in the academic pursuits of the University. The Ashley Fellow usually resides at one of Trent's residential Colleges for part of the year, delivering lectures and meeting with faculty and students.

Shelley Tanaka is being hosted by Trent Durham GTA and Traill College in partnership with the Public Texts M.A. Program, the Department of English Literature and the Child & Youth Studies Program.

About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

For more information, contact:
Cara Walsh, communications and media relations officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6240 or

If you no longer wish to receive news releases and advisories from Trent University, please email to unsubscribe. Accessible versions of this document are available upon request at