Discipline: Literature – nonfiction

Julia Zarankin

Discipline: Literature – nonfiction
Region: Toronto, CANADA
MacDowell Fellowships: 2008

Julia Zarankin is a writer, birder, (occasional) birdsplainer, lecturer, and culture-tour-leader based in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in Audubon, Sierra Club Magazine, Canadian Geographic, The Walrus, Hazlitt, The Letters Page, Cottage Life, Orion Magazine, Threepenny Review, Prism International, Antioch Review, Birding Magazine, Maisonneuve, The New Quarterly, Ontario Nature and The Globe and Mail. She was shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize (2020), won the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival nonfiction prize and has been first runner-up for PRISM International’s nonfiction prize, a finalist for the TNQ Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest and twice longlisted for the CBC Nonfiction Prize. Julia’s birding/life aspirations: “To sport the hairdo of a Cedar Waxwing, acquire the wardrobe of a Northern Flicker and develop the confidence of a Ross’s Goose.”

A few years ago, Michael Enright interviewed Julia on CBC’s Sunday Edition about the person she thinks about most, when she’s not thinking about birds (or her husband): Anton Chekhov.

Julia’s credentials on the Russian & European literature front include an AB from Brown University and a PhD from Princeton University (both in Comparative Literature). Julia is also a proud alumna of the Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism program, Bread Loaf workshops, as well as mentorships from Diaspora Dialogues. She has been awarded residencies at MacDowell and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts.

Julia’s writing has been supported by grants from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Julia is a proud member of the TOC, OFO, Birds Canada, ABA — incredible organizations that support birds (and the people who love them).



Julia Zarankin worked in the Mansfield studio.

The Helen Coolidge Mansfield Studio was donated by graduates of the Mansfield War Service Classes for Reconstruction Aides. Helen Mansfield helped found the New York MacDowell Club. The small, shingled frame structure with stone foundation was originally fronted on the west side by a neat white picket fence and gate, a garden, and a stone pathway…

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