Alum of the month: Margot Fedoruk

Margot Fedoruk smiles at the camera wearing a halter top

December 15, 2022 - 8:30pm

VIU’s Creative Writing program helped Margot Fedoruk achieve her lifelong dream of publishing a book. Fedoruk, who graduated in 2021, says much of the material in her memoir, Cooking Tips for Desperate Fishwives: An Island Memoir, was workshopped in various VIU classes. The book follows her adventures of raising a family on Gabriola Island with her husband, who is an urchin diver. Aside from her writing, she’s also a soap maker.

Read on to learn more about her new book, what attending university as a mature student at the same time as her daughter is like, and what she’s working on next (hint: she just discovered the phenomenon of recipes written on tombstones).

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I recently stumbled across the term “modern-day renaissance woman.” I aspire to this! I feel ready to tackle the world in an entirely different way than I did when I was much younger. Basically, my whole life is in my memoir, so I don't want to bore you with too many details about my past – just pick up a copy of my book! At this time of my life, I want to write, create art, make fantastic soap, test and eat yummy gourmet recipes, and still find time for family and friends. And work too of course! So much to do, so little time!

How did your VIU education help you in what you are doing now?

Cover of book Cooking Tips for Desperate Fishwives by Margot Fedoruk

My education at VIU gave me the tools to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming an author. I can’t stress enough the benefits of making connections with the many talented professors who were very supportive of my writing goals. I also gained a sense of empowerment that really surprised me. I feel like I have a lot to look forward to as a mature student who has really just started this new, exciting path of learning later in life.

Is there a recipe that reminds you of your time at VIU?

I was in the process of editing the recipes for my book during the start of the pandemic, so this brings to mind my (humongous) recipe for lasagna; I ate a lot of lasagna at that time – huge roasting pans of it when I was at home alone (like the rest of the world). I really ramped up my recipe testing back then. I gained a lot of weight making my baba’s pelmeni recipe, a pierogi-like dumpling that our family calls kreplach. I guess it was comfort food I craved and concentrated on the most during those times when we moved to online classes.

How did the Creative Writing program influence your writing?

I approached each class with the goal to improve my writing. I don't think there was a class that didn’t help me in one way or another, whether it was poetry, scriptwriting, fiction or creative-non-fiction. Most of the material I wrote and edited and edited and then edited again 🙃🦀😊 found its way into my memoir! 

Would you consider turning your soap-making blog into an instructional book or sequel memoir filled with things perhaps not covered in Desperate Fishwives?

I can’t seem to find much time to make as many batches of soap as I once did, with the busy-ness of promoting my new book, working full-time, not to mention starting graduate studies! I have a few ideas for my next couple of writing projects. One of them is to travel across BC or different parts of Canada to gather unique recipes and write about the experience. I just discovered the phenomenon of looking at recipes engraved on tombstones. The possibilities are endless!

Could you share a fond or important memory from your time at VIU?

I loved that my youngest daughter and I were attending classes at VIU at the same time! I made a lot of “meet you in the quad” jokes, which she didn’t find that funny after Irepeated the joke several times. Sadly, when COVID hit, we didn’t get to cross paths on campus.

What’s next for you?

I am currently in the Master of Library and Information Studies program offered through the University of Alberta. I am still determined to carve out some time to finish a graphic memoir that I started in a screenwriting class. I also think it might be fun to start a Dear Abby-type blog called “Advice from The Desperate Fishwife.” Like I said, the possibilities seem endless. Going back to school was a positive experience for me and it really opened up a lot of new opportunities in my life.

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Testimonial from Frank Moher

Tags: Creative Writing | Our Alumni

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