Honoured for course which charts a new direction for literary studies
Robert McGill, an associate professor in the University of Toronto's department of English, has been awarded the 2018 Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award by the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs, which recognizes excellence in innovative pedagogy and teaching practice.
“The award means a lot to me,” said McGill, who also directs the department’s creative writing master's program. “Teaching is the most important thing I do. It’s also the most energy-intensive and time-intensive.”
McGill was honoured for his literary citizenship course, which charts a new direction for literary studies.
The course – which McGill says would not have been possible without the support of his department and the Faculty of Arts & Science’s STEP Forward program – addresses students’ needs and interests, not just as literary critics, but as literary citizens who make contributions to the world through entrepreneurship, arts education, publishing, reviewing, their own creative writing and more.
“The course was a leap into a whole new kind of teaching for me,” said McGill. “It asked the students to engage in new modes of learning, whether presenting reports on literary organizations or interviewing people from those organizations.
“I really appreciated their commitment to the work and was impressed by their engagement with literary culture.”
McGill’s first novel, The Mysteries, was named one of the top five Canadian fiction books of 2004 by Quill & Quire. His second novel, Once We Had a Country, published in 2013, was named a book of the year by reviewers in the National Post and the Montreal Gazette.
He has also published short fiction in Hazlitt, The Journey Prize Anthology, Toronto Life, and literary journals including Descant, The Fiddlehead, and Grain. His nonfiction has appeared in the National Post, the Toronto Star, and The Walrus, as well as on CBC Radio One.
He is currently working on new fiction, as well as journal articles about diversity and authority in creative writing pedagogy.
The Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award – administered by the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs, a Canadian-focused association of creative writers, creative writing instructors, and creative writing programs – is named in honour of the influential Canadian novelist, poet and essayist. Called “Mr. Canadian Postmodern” by U of T University Professor Linda Hutcheon, Kroetsch is widely recognized as one of Canada’s foremost innovative writers.