The Value of Writing for Senior-Citizen Writers


  • Jeff Park University of Saskatchewan
  • Beverley A. Brenna University of Saskatchewan



Writing, Life-Writing, Public Library Writing Programs, Senior Citizens


This qualitative case study explores writing and writing motivations of senior citizens age 65-93 who had entered a public library Writing Challenge. The research questions focused on how and why writing was important to this group as well as what patterns and themes emerged in their work. Data from questionnaires offered that the social aspect of writing appeared to be the strongest motivating factor for participation. Numerous individual reasons for writing were listed, and these, as well as the unique ideas presented in excerpts from the work itself, created a resonant picture of writing in participants’ lives. The resulting anthology contained a predominance of non-fiction, including life writing components within fictive pieces, utilizing the expressive function. Key themes included identity, olden days, progress, humour, nature, religion, and the love of family. Implications involve the importance of community writing events for writers who may not have other means of developing individual writing networks. Further research is recommended related to seniors and literacy to add to what is currently a limited academic viewpoint regarding this population.

Author Biographies

Jeff Park, University of Saskatchewan

Jeff Park is an associate professor in Curriculum Studies, College of Education, at the University of Saskatchewan where his research interests include literacy issues; critical literacy; writing and composition theory; creativity; gender; arts-based research methodologies; poetic inquiry; narrative; English Language Arts; and curriculum theory and history.

Beverley A. Brenna, University of Saskatchewan

Beverley Brenna is an associate professor in Curriculum Studies, College of Education, at the University of Saskatchewan where her research interests include literacy pedagogy. She also writes novels for young people and more about her published work can be found at





How to Cite

Park, J., & Brenna, B. A. (2015). The Value of Writing for Senior-Citizen Writers. Language and Literacy, 17(3), 100–117.