Award-winning author, playwright and Peterborough native, Alison Wearing spent the week of March 23-27 at Trent University conducting workshops, reading from her forthcoming book and performing her works on stage as the 2015 Champlain College Writer in Residence.
Trent holds a very special place in Ms. Wearing’s life, her father taught here as a professor of political science. When she was young, she remembers the freedom and wonder of the campus: “I grew up running through these halls, playing pretend with my brother, it has always been a very magical place.”
At 17, Ms. Wearing began to travel the world and it has been a passion of hers ever since. The different cultures and influences from around the globe nurtured her creativity: “Travelling blew my mind wide open. Everything familiar is shaken.”
When a family friend was impressed by how beautifully written Ms. Wearing’s letters home were they suggested she try her hand at writing, and the rest, as they say, is history. But Ms. Wearing doesn’t just write books and plays, she performs them as well. Unlike many writers, she loves to read aloud her stories. Ms. Wearing says this was a big reason she “fell into theatre” and quickly discovered its benefits as a means of storytelling: “I am able to embody what I wish I could on the page. Take the story to exactly where I want it to go.”
Reflecting on returning home to Peterborough and Trent, Ms. Wearing says the experience has given her a “renewed appreciation for the past. The campus is just so inspiring to look at. We often underestimate the value of architecture and the affect it can have on us. I feel very privileged to have been exposed to this place so much as a young person.”
She also spoke about Trent’s colleges calling it “a special system” and something that “made sense for so many good, and morally human reasons.”
Perhaps her favourite part of the week were the many opportunities to engage with Trent students through workshops and readings. She spoke of how humbling of an experience working with people so young can be and how the students taught her so many things in return. Her reaction to students at Trent as a whole was one of admiration: “I enjoyed seeing how much Trent means to people, how connected people are to Trent.”
Offering one final piece of advice to all aspiring writers, Ms. Wearing emphasized the importance to just keep writing: “Write, write and write some more. Write for the sheer joy of it.”
Alison Wearing’s works have appeared in The Globe and Mail and The National Post. She has been awarded with The National Magazine Award Gold Medal and first place in The Western Canada Magazine Awards, as well as being named a Globe and Mail bestseller and Chapter/Indigo Top 50 of 2013.