A Red Deer College English instructor has received a prestigious fellowship that will take her to Scotland this summer.
Jenna Butler, an award-winning writer who has been a faculty member with RDC’s School of Arts and Sciences for the past three years, will join a handful of other writers from around the globe as part of the prestigious Hawthornden Castle Fellowship for Writers.
The month-long fellowship will take place 45 minutes outside of Edinburgh in Scotland. The location doesn’t have any cell or internet service, and there are strict no-talking rules from breakfast to supper, so it will provide dedicated time to really delve into her projects.
Butler will be working on three main projects. The main one is the final edits for her fifth book, a travelogue that connects the endangered Norwegian Arctic with the environmentally sensitive northern Canadian boreal. This project came out of a writer in residence position she held onboard a sailing ship at the Norwegian Arctic Circle in 2014.
She will also be researching and planning for a sixth book, which looks at how women beekeepers build community and explores their reasons for taking up the trade.
Her third area of focus involves her work with a second-year Science student Mandy Bayha from RDC as they undertake what they hope will be a reconciliatory book project involving the Dene people who were impacted by uranium mining near Great Bear Lake.
People from the community of Délįne mined the uranium in the early 1940s and, without their knowledge, it was used in the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War.
Bayha, who is from Délįne herself, will work with Butler to share the stories of elders and the community.