Award-winning Atlantic Canadian author and St. Thomas alumna Sheree Fitch will be participating in this year’s Shivering Songs Festival in a Songwriters and Storytellers event at Fredericton’s Wilmot church on Jan. 23. Fitch brings with her a devotion to energy and voice in her craft that aspiring writers have touted an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
“She really understands the beauty of language and words when they’re spoken,” said Philip Lee, professor of journalism at STU, who interviewed Fitch when he worked at the Telegraph-Journal.
Fitch graduated from St. Thomas University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and published her first book Toes in my Nose and Other Poems.
“There is not a professor [at STU] who didn’t inspire me,” Fitch said. “I always say that when I went to St. Thomas I found faith in the person I could become.”
Fitch is well known for her children books If You Could Wear My Sneakers!, Mabel Murple, Sleeping Dragons All Around and many others.
Her writing often involves tough tongue twisters that help young readers learn to appreciate language and creates an initial joyful reading experience. Some have called Fitch the
Canadian female equivalent of Dr. Seuss.
“I have a lot of admiration for Sheree Fitch. She is an extremely hard-working and talented poet with tremendous energy,” Lee said.
On her website, Fitch lists 19 awards including the Atlantic Bookseller’s Choice Award for Sleeping Dragons All Around (1990), Anne Connor Brimer Award for Mabel Murple (1996), and the CBC Young Canada Reads for The Gravesavers (2006). Many of her books have also been shortlisted for other awards. In addition to being an author and poet, Fitch does workshops, readings, public speaking, mentoring and teaching.
“As a writer, you are a business person,” she said. “You cannot rely on the sales of your books alone.”
Fitch’s writing focuses mainly on finding one’s voice, community and creating joy and making sense out of the world.
“The reason I create writing and poetry and novels is because I
love the world enough to keep creating in it,” Fitch said. “The world is a complicated place and creating art helps me make sense of the world.” Fitch enjoys giving advice to young writers and considers herself a midwife to other people’s creativity.
During the Shivering Songs Festival, Fitch will be hosting the Songwriters and Storytellers event at Wilmot United Church on Saturday, January 23 at 2pm. Tickets for the event can purchased online through the Shivering Songs website or at the etixnow kiosk at 481 Queen Street.
“She’s a great choice for the Shivering Songs Festival and I encourage students to go out and see her,” Lee said.