Rabindranath (Robin) Maharaj is the University of New Brunswick’s writer-in-residence for the 2016-2017 school year. He is available for consultation with any writer in the Fredericton community, not just students at the university! Robin’s office is located in Carleton Hall, room 243. He can be reached by email: Robin.Maharaj@unb.ca or by phone: 506 458 7400. Robin’s website can be found at https://rabindranathmaharaj.com/
As writer-in-residence for UNB and the Fredericton community, what kind of functions do you think can serve for new, emerging, and established writers here?
I believe there are two main functions of a writer-in-residence. The first is to give an appraisal of the writers’ – both from the campus and the wider community – works and offer suggestions for improvements. The second function has less to do with the mechanics of writing and is more concerned with the avenues towards publication, getting a sense of an audience and so on. The writer’s rationale for writing and his or her expectations play a part in my interactions and suggestions.
During our previous meetings, we’ve discussed writing practices, and how to be thinking about writing even when we’re not sitting directly in front of the page or computer (or typewriter if one is a hipster-wannabe). How does your own practice reflect this? Do you find yourself thinking about story structure, dialogue, or characterization when you’re doing things unrelated to writing?
It depends on the stage I am in my novel or story. There is a particular point in a novel where everything not connected with the book recedes and the story takes centre-stage. During this period, which occurs typically about two-thirds into the book, almost everything that I do, from the morning to the night, relates to the book. This is not always deliberate but it’s a necessary ‘zone’ where