NILES Native earns honor in Canada
The position is considered one of the highest honors in Canadian literature.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- After working as a newspaper reporter for a few years, Niles native Albert F. Moritz decided he wanted to get serious about his studies. It paid off.
Moritz was recently named the 2003 Jack B. McClelland Writer-in-Residence at the University of Toronto in Canada.
"I must say I'm pretty happy," Moritz said of the appointment, considered one of the highest honors in Canadian literature.
A 1965 graduate of Warren John F. Kennedy High School, Moritz started his college career at Marquette University in Milwaukee and began his professional writing career as a reporter at The Vindicator in 1969.
He later moved on to work for the Milwaukee Sentinel, as did his wife, the former Theresa Carrothers of Canton.
He decided that working at a newspaper was not for him, however, so he went back to school for more studies.
"I was a bit of a cut-up in my younger days at school, and I wanted graduate school to be a time that I could really put some work into my writing and some serious study," he said.
He and his wife moved to Canada when she decided to pursue her studies in medieval English and found that the University of Toronto was one of the top schools for that field.
"I figured with my background in journalism, I would be able to find a job to support us there," he said. "Since then, we just kind of put down roots here."
The couple moved in 1974, eventually obtaining dual citizenship in Canada and the United States, and Moritz eventually began a teaching career at Victoria College in Toronto, while he continued to publish collected works of his poetry.
Fifteen volumes later, Moritz's work garnered him several awards and recognitions, including the Guggenheim Fellowship, a nomination for the 2000 Governor General's Award in Literature and now the writer-in-residence position.
He's already assumed the duties of this one-time honor, which includes delivering speeches and promoting literary pursuits throughout the area.
In the meantime, he continues with his writing, which includes nonfiction works. Collections of his early poems can be found locally at Borders Books.
Moritz is the son of the late Albert Moritz, a former professor of science and biology at Youngstown State University, and Betty DeJute Moritz, a longtime teacher in Niles.