An award-winning Jamaican author and poet, Matthew Dawkins is Western’s student writer-in-residence for 2022-23.
Dawkins is entering his fourth year as a student in the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities (SASAH) and English Language and Literature and has been highly engaged in student life from the moment he stepped on campus.
“Western has such a vibrant and exciting creative community which is often a place where there’s a lot of untapped potential,” Dawkins said. “I’m really looking forward to bringing that community to the forefront of conversation on campus and inviting students from all faculties and disciplines to participate as well, joining in maybe new types of programming they hadn’t considered before.”
Dawkins is widely respected by his peers and the creative community and his works on Wattpad, a popular platform for creative writers, have amassed nearly half a million reads. His work focuses on subjects from his personal experience such as adolescence, love, loss, culture, and mental health. Through his new role this year, he is excited to work closely with existing creative spaces on campus including clubs and student councils, hosting writing workshops, and collaborating with more cultural, religious, and ethnic groups on campus.
“I was looking for a student experience that valued both academia and social connections and I thought Western met that intersection really well,” Dawkins said. “Also, the SASAH program, combined with English Literature seemed like the perfect educational fit for me, offering the knowledgebase I wanted.”
Western’s student writer-in-residence program is marking its 10th year in 2022-23. This innovative program – unique in North America – was developed by the University Students’ Council and the Department of English and Writing Studies. Its mandate is to provide support for an accomplished undergraduate writer while allowing other students to benefit from the writer’s creativity, expertise, and organizational skills. The program fosters exchange among aspiring student writers and contributes to the culture of creativity across campus, within the London area, and across literary genres, media, and technologies.
“I think I’m really lucky to be in this position at this particular time where campus is planned to be mostly in-person,“ Dawkins said. “I think it offers me the opportunity to bring back all the amazing work that’s taken place before me, but also add my own twists to make the role and space feel a little newer.”
Until We Break, Dawkins’ debut novel, is set for release this fall. His previous work has been published in Symposium, Semi-colon, and Uplifting Blackness: A Showcase of Art at Western University.
Dawkins will have office hours in University College to meet with aspiring writers and creatives and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Instagram and Twitter at @matthewd_writes.