Trent Press Release


November 12, 2001

Giller prize winner, Richard B. Wright, a Trent University graduate

 Richard B. Wright, the winner of this year's Giller Prize - Canada's prestigious literary award worth $25,000 - is a graduate of Trent University. Mr.Wright graduated from Trent in 1972 with a bachelor of arts degree in English.

"I always wanted to be a writer," said Mr. Wright, "but I knew it would be difficult to make a living at it in this country, so I went back to university when I was in my '30s to get a degree and become a teacher."

While at Trent, Mr. Wright published his first novel, The Weekend Man, which received high acclaim. He was the recipient of a scholarship from Quaker Oats. He was a student of Catharine Parr Traill College, and lived with his wife and young child in a small cottage on Chemong Lake.


Richard B. Wright
Because of his age and family responsibilities, Mr. Wright said he did not engage in many student activities at Trent, but has fond memories of many of his favourite professors such as Fred Tromly, Michael Treadwell and David Cameron. His wife Phyllis was employed as a secretary in the Philosophy department.

The Chair of Trent University's English Department, James Neufeld, reflected on the news of Mr. Wright's outstanding literary achievement. "It takes more than a university education to create a good writer," said Professor Neufeld. "To build a career like the one Richard Wright has created requires dedication, constant honing of the craft and long, long hours of labour. As Wright has commented, much of this work is by its nature solitary. The Giller Prize is not only a wonderful recognition of his achievement, but also a way of bringing that achievement out into the community-and reducing the solitary nature of the craft. We at Trent are, of course, proud of the association we have had with Mr. Wright in the past, but even more, we are happy to see this public recognition of his work."

After graduation, Mr. Wright became an English teacher at Ridley College where he taught for 20 years. He has published nine novels. The Giller was awarded for his novel Clara Callan. Previous winners of the Giller include Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro.

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Distribution: Peterborough, Regional


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