C. D. Howe Memorial Fellowships in Creative Writing and Oral Culture



The C.D. Howe Foundation, with contributions from the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative, has established a fund at the University of Manitoba in support of the Centre for Creative Writing & Oral Culture. Two Fellowships valued at approximately $10,000.00* each will be offered to successful candidates.


Fellowships will be offered to graduate students who:

  • Are enrolled full-time in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, in a Masters or Doctoral degree program;
  • have achieved a minimum degree grade point average of 3.5 (or equivalent) based on the last 60 credit hours of study; and
  • are conducting thesis research in Creative Writing (producing an original work of literature) or on the critical study of oral cultures.

Students with lived experience of Indigenous and other oral cultures are particularly encouraged to apply.

 Application Requirements

Candidates are required to submit an application consisting of a description of their proposed or ongoing research (maximum 500 words), any current academic transcript(s) and two academic letters of reference from professors at a post-secondary institution. Candidates will be assessed as follows; record of academic achievement (30%), plan of research (40%), and letters of reference (30%).
The award is not automatically renewable but previous recipients may apply. Recipients may hold the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation Fellowships in Creative Writing and Oral Culture concurrently with other awards, consistent with the policies of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Applications and questions should be email to Tammy De Jong at tammy.dejong@umanitoba.ca

Deadline for applications is June 1st, 2021

 *amount is based on the average of the last five years and is subject to change


2020-21 Recipients

Antony Zang, Graduate student in Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media


Sehar Mushtaq, Ph.D. student in Peace and Conflict Studies


2019-2020 Recipients 

2019-2020, Micheline Hughes, Ph.D. Student in Native Studies.  Hughes is a member of he Cape Sable Island Wampanoag of the Sou'West Nova Métis Council. Broadly, her research explores the relationship between Mi’kmaw oral tradition and Mi’kmaw Catholicism. Her dissertation considers Indigenous agency and resistance in the face of colonizing powers and argues that oral tradition informed the adoption and adaption of Catholicism.

2019-2020, Virginia Page Jähne, MA student in the department of English, Theatre, Film and Media.  Page Jähne is writing a stage play which confronts the intersection of disability and climate change. Her research will engage with diverse disciplines such as anthropogeography, philosophy and disability studies. The drama will seek to address and challenge socio-political concepts and psycho-myths that continue to misinform abled persons’ understanding of disability. This is a story about barriers to relationships paralleling a story about barriers to accessibility, juxtaposed with a devolving narrative in which hidden disabilities are made visible, and the non-disabled are disabled by climatic events and infrastructure collapse.


Past Recipients

Michelle Lietz
2018-2019 – Michelle Lietz,
Ph.D. Student in English Literature, Lietz specializes in Indigenous literatures from across Turtle Island and works closely with written and oral storytelling practices from many different Indigenous communities.  While her work generally focuses on themes of cannibalism and monstrosity within Indigenous storytelling and poetry, Lietz is also interested in the intersections of memory and place within Indigenous frameworks. Largely concerned with questions of belonging and alienation, as well as reclamation and representation, Lietz’s work aims to provide an alternative narrative to the often reductive understanding of Indigenous storytelling.

Dominique Reynolds
2018-2019 – Dominique Reynolds,
M.A. student in French. Her thesis project is divided in two parts. The first part will be an exploration of identity and women’s roles in francophone Metis authors works. She will also study how these authors are contributing to the decolonization of French Canadian literature. The second part will be a collection of short stories that weave together a cast of characters searching for their truth and questioning their place in world where an ever-growing number of people are striving to shake the hold of colonial heritage, while those in power seek to keep their privilege.

Melanie Braith
2017-2018 - Melanie Braith,
Ph.D. student in English. Braith’s research examines the role of stories in healing individual and communal residential school trauma. She focuses on giving testimony and how it is imagined and enacted by fictional residential school literature. Through her research, she analyzes novels that fictionalize experiences and effects of the Canadian Residential School system; how the trauma relates to a person’s relationship with their body, their kin and community, as well as to the land. Braith seeks to examine the role of narratives in the process of healing residential school trauma and how narratives support the restoration of these relationships.

Nick Kosmenko
Nick Kosmenko, Ph.D. student in Applied Health Sciences. His research explores factors that influence rural Indigenous participation in varsity sports in Manitoba through the use of sharing circles and yarning to create culturally relevant narratives or film content with Indigenous Athletes. Kosmenko’s research seeks to inform the research, scholarly, and professional sport literature, contributing to the TRC’s goals for reconciliation by addressing issues afflicting Indigenous peoples’ participation in varsity sport. It will also use the link between sport and academic success to promote increased post-secondary graduation rates among Indigenous student athletes.

• Micheline Hughes, Ph.D student in Native Studies. Her research seeks to analyze the Mi’kmaq nation’s rich narrative tradition and examine the relationships that existed between the Mi’kmaq and missionaries, the role of narrative, and the religion and spirituality of the Mi’kmaq. Hughes uses stories to reflect how the Mi’kmaq reacted to colonialism, the mutually beneficial relationships between the Mi’kmaq and the missionaries, and the Mi’kmaq people’s adoption of Catholicism.
• Allison Penner, MA student in history. Her research, Talking Against Narrative: Oral Histories of Afghan Refugees in Winnipeg, focuses the oral history of Afghans who migrated to Canada, ultimately settling in Winnipeg, post 9/11. Penner examines their experiences through the telling of their life stories, and how they use oral history to enable the telling of those stories.

• Damien Lee, MA student in Native Studies.  His thesis -- entitled Dibenjigaazowin: Towards an Adoption-Centric Theory of Anishinaabeg Citizenship -- studies how the Indian Act is affecting Anishinaabeg communities and the idea behind "Indianness" as a racial identity while researching ways to decolonize current citizenship practices. Lee does this through an in-depth look into standard Anishinaabeg adoptions and how the process can be used to promote the learning of values and respect from families with adopted children.
• Susie Fisher, MA student in History.  Her thesis -- entitled Seeds from the Steppe: Storied Lives, Material Culture, and Emotion among Mennonite Migrants in Canada, 1870-1950 -- researches rural Mennonite communities with the intention of gaining insight into how this ethnoreligious group handled migration, settlement, and everything in between. Fisher's research focuses on both oral history and material culture of the Mennonites who migrated from Russia in the 1870s.

• Kirsty Cameron, MA student in English. Told through poetic prose, her thesis will explore the lives of four women from distinct generations in a single family, set in four specific locations – two Canadian coasts, the Canadian prairie, and urban England.
• Micheal Minor, Ph.D.candidate in the Department of English, Film, and Theatre. His thesis, Decolonizing Through Nêhinawak and Anishinaabe Poetry, will discuss how settler-colonialism has attempted to rob Indigenous people of their culture.

• Lydia Schoeppner, student in Peace and Conflict Studies, will employ qualitative ethnographic and participatory research methods to her project. It will contain semi-structured, independent interviews with 30 Inuit, 20 to 25 of whom will be met in their communities in Nunavut and five to ten ICC representatives will be met in Ottawa to learn about Inuit oral narratives regarding past and current challenges and changes in their life and their past, current and anticipated future ways to dealing with those challenges and changes - and the role, potential and function of the ICC and ITK in this process.
• Daniel Guezen, MA student in the Department of French, Spanish and Italian, is working on a thesis that will establish and exploit links between memory, identity, and language by researching various theories related to these themes and studying the French and English language works of other Manitoba writers. His research will benefit our understanding of memory and identity as presented in art.

• Ryan Duplassie, Ph.D. student in the department of Native Studies. Through in-person interviews, Ryan will study the oral narratives of Grassy Narrows’ resistance leaders, elders, women and youth as they articulate the history of the Grassy Narrows Anishinaabek First Nation community.
• Agnieszka (Agnes) Pawlowska, Ph.D. student in the department of Native Studies. Through interviews and recorded discussions, Agnes will study the oral narratives of the individuals of Poplar River First Nation including elders, trappers and fishermen regarding the importance of land and land use in their Manitoba fly-in community.

• Alon D. Weinberg, MA student in the department of Native Studies. By studying oral narratives, he will examine Anishinaabeg (Ojibway) responses to the introduction of all-weather roads in the east shore boreal forest region of Lake Winnipeg.

• Sean Braun, who will be entering the department of English, Film & Theatre as an MA student. His thesis project is to write "'Spectres of the Border': A Prairie Gothic on the Frontier." Set in the early 1900s and drawing upon Southern Gothic and American Western literary traditions, this novel will examine what it means to live at the perimeter of an expanding territory at the boundary between nations, cultures, races and histories, and it will challenge Canada's own Western myth of quiet peaceful expansion, revealing the tensions, both private and national, at the crest of an advancing frontier.
• Daria Patrie, MA student in the department of English, Film & Theatre. Her thesis project is to write a collection of short stories focusing on the confluence of two major narratives: artificial intelligence and zombies. Examining the beauty and the horror of both the disembodied mind and the dis-minded body, this collection will interrogate maternal love, respect for life/death, truth as art, art as lie, and the potential for "humanity" itself to be a fabrication.

• Gordon Blackburde, MA student in Native Studies. His thesis project is "Sustainable Community Development on Rainy River First Nation" and it is based on textual analysis and field work including interviews.
• Susan Rich, MA student in English. She will be entering the Ph.D. program in English and her proposed study is a critical work entitled "Reading Feminine: Positioning the Reader as the Subject of Literary Analysis in Postmodern Fiction and Memoirs."