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Nino Ricci: writer-in-residence at University of Toronto Scarborough

An award-winning writer and member of the Order of Canada, Nino Ricci has extensive volunteer teaching experience (photo by Ken Jones)

When it comes to sources of inspiration, author Nino Ricci says there’s plenty to be found in the budding writers who look to him for guidance.

The celebrated Canadian author begins the semester as the next writer-in-residence at U of T Scarborough.

“I think residencies are as much of a learning experience for me as they are for the students,” says Ricci, author of five novels and one work of non-fiction. “They force me to think about my own writing process more deeply and also reacquaint me with a wider world that writing itself often cuts me off from.”

Ricci has plenty of experience mentoring aspiring writers having served as a writer-in-residence for the Toronto and Kitchener public library systems. He’s also a past president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN, known as PEN Canada – a writers’ human rights organization that works for freedom of expression.

“I’m very much looking forward to my time at U of T Scarborough,” adds Ricci. “Hopefully I can pass on whatever bit of insight I’ve gleaned in my own years as a writer.”

The appointment of Ricci follows a successful term by UTSC’s inaugural writer-in-residence, Miriam Toews. Ricci will be available throughout the winter term to visit classes, run workshops, hold office hours and provide one-on-one manuscript consultations with student writers. He will also be dedicating time to his next creative endeavour.

Ricci’s first novel was the internationally acclaimed Lives of the Saints, which spent 75 weeks on the Globe and Mail‘s bestseller list and won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. The novel was published in 17 countries and was the first volume of a trilogy that continued with In a Glass House and Where She Has Gone, which was nominated for the Giller Prize.

His novel Testament, a fictional retelling of the life of Jesus, was a winner of the Trillium Award as well as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year. Ricci’s most recent novel is the national bestseller The Origin of Species, which earned him the Canadian Authors Association Fiction Award as well as his second Governor General’s Award for Fiction. He is also the author of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a short biography that forms part of Penguin’s extraordinary Canadians series, edited by John Ralston Saul.