Many may know her as an athlete, excelling in cross-country skiing, or as a campground owner and operator, but Margrit de Graff has also come to wear another hat — author in her golden years.
de Graff recently received a gold medal in creative writing at the Zone 4 Arts and Crafts and Creative Writing banquet. The banquet is an extension of the 2015 Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games.
This is the second time de Graff has won a gold medal for her creative writing pursuits in the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games.
In her leisure, de Graff competes in cycling and cross-country skiing and is known as a ‘muscle woman.’ She also loves to putter around in her large garden during the summer months.
“In the winter and in-between I write, so I think writing really is at the top,” she said.
“At my age, 88, I’m afraid I won’t get everything written. I have three books going at the same time.”
Although she has been creative her whole life, and did dabble in writing as a teen, the pursuit was put on the backburner by the other aspects of her life.
“I used to be a scribbler, then I morphed into a writer,” said de Graff.
This metamorphosis was really spurred on when she turned 80. After retiring at 79 and selling her campground, she went on a five-month trip around the world on a freighter.
“Then, finally I had the time to write because sometimes there are days when you don’t see the shore,” she said of the trip.
“I always liked writing,” said de Graff. “At the campground I had about 100 permanent campers year round, and for them, I wrote a newsletter every month, but otherwise I didn’t have anything else. I always like writing and when I first came to Canada, I wrote for a German newspaper about my experiences. I’ve sold a story here and there.”
So far, over the past eight years, de Graff’s works have been included in 13 anthologies. She has authoured short stories, poetry and self-published multiple books, which she binds herself and sells at craft fairs.
She also has a bestseller titled Wanted that is her story of her first year in Alberta with her new husband and having a blended family of 10 children.
de Graff also has a new book in the works and is planning to work on eBooks in the future.