The keynote speaker At SIW this year is Cheryl Strayed. For those of you not familiar with this thoughtful, talented writer you might want to read her essay ‘Munro Country’ first published in The Missouri Review for which she won the Pushcart Prize.
Here’s how it opens:
One afternoon when I was twenty-five, I opened the lid of the black metal mailbox that was bolted to the front of the house where I lived and found a plain white envelope addressed to me in a grandmotherly scrawl from an address in British Columbia. It was January in Minneapolis and cold-really cold-but I pulled my gloves off anyway and tore the envelope open and stood on the frozen wooden stairs to read the letter inside. Dear Cheryl, it began in the same hand that had addressed the envelope:
Your letter and story were forwarded to me here in B.C. where I am staying until April-near to 2 of my daughters and my one grandchild. I want to say that I was moved and delighted by the Horse and Blue Canoe. It’s a wonderful, unexpected kind of story and I wouldn’t change a hair on its head. (That’s what my favorite editor always says to me before he proposes about 50 changes.) You are quite right to stay out of academic life if you can. Are you eligible for any grants? If you were in Canada I’d certainly urge you to apply for one from the Canada Council. You must continue writing but you do have lots of time. You’re two years younger than my youngest daughter. I wasn’t writing nearly so well at your age.