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Laurier has a tradition of inviting noteworthy Canadian writers to engage with the university community through a visiting writer residency. Through this residency, visiting writers can share their knowledge and creativity, while fostering dialogue with students, faculty and staff about a current social question.

A hallmark of the visiting writer initiative is a reading or lecture, during which the visiting writer will draw on some of the significant themes or contexts in their writing.

Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan is a Canadian novelist and two-time Giller Prize winner, for her novels Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black.

In Half-Blood Blues, Edugyan writes about a musician struggling to come to terms with the disappearance of his fellow bandmate, a talented Black jazz musician who was abducted by Nazis during the Second World War.

In Washington Black, Edugyan chronicles the life of George Washington Black, who was born into slavery in Barbados but escapes as a child and makes his way to Nova Scotia.

Besides her Giller Prize wins, Edugyan has also been a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Orange Prize. Edugyan was raised in Calgary, Alberta and has studied at both the University of Victoria and Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.


  • The Second Life of Samuel Tyne (2004)
  • Half-Blood Blues (2011)
  • Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home (2014)
  • Washington Black (2018)

Copies of Washington Black are available on loan through the Laurier Library, or for purchase through the Bookstore, which is currently offering online ordering and delivery, or pick-up.

Washington Black: An Evening with Esi Edugyan

Nov. 12 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom

This event is open to all students, faculty and staff, but registration is required. When registering, you will have the opportunity to submit a question for the author.  

Esi Edugyan will read an excerpt from her Giller Prize-winning novel Washington Black, followed by a 45-minute talk and a 30-minute question-and-answer session. 

Laurier Reads Washington Black

Nov. 5 from 12 to 1 p.m. via Zoom

Open to students, staff and faculty. 

In advance of Esi Edugyan’s visit, Laurier students, staff and faculty are invited to read Washington Black and discuss it in a book club format. The event will be facilitated by Tarah Brookfield, associate professor of History and Youth and Children’s Studies.

In Conversation with Esi Edugyan

Nov. 12 from 5 to 6 p.m. via Zoom

Laurier students will have an opportunity to have an informal discussion with Esi Edugyan about her work, how it connects to societal issues, and her research and writing process. The discussion will be facilitated by students from Black at Laurier. Participants will have an opportunity to submit questions in advance, as well as ask them during the session. 

Contact Us:

Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic

T: 519.884.0710 x2859