Each year the University of the Fraser Valley’s English department sets forth on a search for the next Writer in Residence. A writer-in-residence is a Canadian writer who is welcomed into the UFV community to inspire students, provide practical advice on publishing, and mentor aspiring writers, according to the English department’s website. This year Rex Weyler is filling the writer-in-residence role. Weyler has extensive experience as a writer and as an ecologist and he is often remembered and recognized for being the Co-Founder of Greenpeace International.
Weyler has many notable accomplishments to his name. Starting in the sciences, he made a shift to journalism when he discovered he wanted to be a part of the emerging ecological awareness movement. Rather than giving up on one area, he has melded his fields of interest, creating a name for himself in the world of eco-literature.
“My interest started shifting from the sciences to a journalism career, a writing career, because I was wanting to discuss these issues,” says Weyler.
Weyler became interested in the environment and the issues surrounding it, which led to a diverse career, following ecological issues and applying his skills as a writer.
Developing a home in the writing world is a feat that can often be approached with hesitation. It is a tough sphere to break into, but it can be done. “I wanted to be a writer, and I learned writing by doing it. The other factor in learning how to write is reading good writers,” suggests Weyler.
Weyler is an avid reader of every genre under the sun: poetry, history, technical, non-fiction, novels and science are just some of the ones he listed off. Currently he is reading The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald and he says, “I enjoy learning, if you don’t enjoy learning I think it takes the joy out of writing. Writing is a process of learning.”
This is where Weyler’s title of writer-in-residence comes into place. Bringing with him the experiences he has had in life, he is present at UFV to share his expertise to students who want to expand their knowledge. “It seems like the students here are keen and want to learn. It is that environment that I find really inspiring for me — I also just want to learn,” says Weyler.
“My role here is to find a way to contribute with my experience. It’s a real honour for me to be here and to be recognized in that way. My career in writing is worthy enough that the administration here thought I could contribute to the university.”
Excited for a new adventure, Weyler can be found in Abbotsford D3009 on Mondays and Thursdays.
“I love it when students come by,” Weyler notes. Although he has not been to the campus pub yet, Weyler hopes to check it out and have many informal conversations with students and faculty of the Fraser Valley.