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November 5, 2009

Margaret Ullrich (nee Margherita Sultana)

Margaret Ullrich was born in M'sida, Malta. Three months later she and her parents immigrated to the United States, to Corona, New York.
After two years they moved to College Point, also in Queens, New York.

While in high school, her essay was published in Young America Speaks (National Essay Press) and her play Better You Should was produced for a student assembly.
She graduated with honours from St. Agnes Academic High School.

While attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Margaret had her own column
Off the IRT Track in the university's weekly newspaper The Prattler.
She also served as The Prattler's Business Manager.

After graduating with a BFA in Fashion Merchandising, Margaret worked in Manhattan as a copywriter for Columbia Minerva, a publisher of knitting instruction booklets.

In 1972 Margaret and her husband Paul moved to Surrey, British Columbia.
In 1975 they moved to Winnipeg. She graduated from Red River Community College's Photographic Technician course in 1980. During the following years she also studied Creative Writing with Maara Haas, Playwrighting with Bruce McManus at Prairie Theatre Exchange, and Basic Film Making with Ann Hodges at the Winnipeg Film Group.

In the late 70s and early 80s Margaret served as editor for
The West End Co-op Resource Centre Newsletter
the Age & Opportunity Newsletter - The Senior Link
the Family Services of Winnipeg Newsletter - Newsbreak
the Manitoba Naturalists' Society Newsletter - The Bulletin

During this period Margaret wrote for The Manitoba Women's Newspaper.
She also wrote and performed in comedy skits with her husband Paul on the VPW Public Access programs Comics and Cartoons and Roger Rocket Pilot.
Following Margo Oliver's recipes, she cooked various recipes to illustrate Margo Oliver's column in The Winnipeg Free Press.

In 1990 Ullrich's play The Spare Room received an honorable mention in CBC's Writers for Radio contest. Her three short pieces - Sensibilia; Love, You Make My Day and Cross in the Sand - were runner-ups in CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition Valentine's day writing contests from 1991 to 1993.

From 1993 to 2001 she was a member, volunteer and Officer of the Board of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights. Ullrich was accepted into MAP's Mentorship program. Her plays, including her three longer works The Legacy, My Father's Daughter and The British are Coming, were workshopped at MAP's Open Door.

In 1995 her play Good Breeding, directed by Mauralea Austin, was produced by Popular Theatre Alliance of Manitoba for TESTING GROUND II.  In the same year, Ullrich edited copy for RE VISIONS, the Festival Program for The Winnipeg Women's International Film & Video Festival.

Ullrich's recipes for Rabbit Cooked in Garlic and Wine; Smothered Potatoes and Fennel, and Caponata (all Maltese style recipes) were included in Enter Cooking!  Volume Two, Another collection of favourite recipes from the Manitoba Theatre Community, which was published by The Manitoba Association of Playwrights in 1996.

In 1996 she also performed in Limblifter's rock video Vicious.

In 1998 Ullrich's play Pat Answers and her short story Worms with Angel Wings were broadcast on the UMFM radio program Saturday Night Variety Show.
In 1999 these pieces were again broadcast on the UMFM drama show Play It Again, along with Good Breeding and Women of Culture, a full length play. 

In 2000 she attended the Radio Technical Operation Course at Video Pool and CKUW (Steve Bates, instructor).

From 2000 to 2007 Ullrich read her own essays and humorous stories on the CKUW radio program 2000 and Counting - Older and Wiser, which was broadcasted live on Tuesday afternoon and repeated on Saturday mornings. She produced the Christmas 2001/New Year's 2002 programs. Her play Pat Answers was performed live on the program.
Her essay Living with Cholesterol was broadcasted on CBC Radio One.

During this period Ullrich attended the University of Winnipeg where she studied Creative Non-fiction with Catherine M. Senecal and Screenplay Writing with Don Bailey. She was also published in The Metro, Autumn Leaves, The Prime Times News, The Manitoba Co-operator, The Nor'West News and The MSOS Journal.

Four of her works, Bus Sightings, On My Way, Portuguese Fisherman and Cholesterol Blues (a shorter version of Living with Cholesterol) were included in the anthology Autumn Leaves which was published in 2003 by Creative Retirement.

Margaret and her husband Paul created and performed in a play spotlighting community problems with The Nor'west Co-op Community Health Centre's theatre group in 2003. They also performed at the Nor'West Community Centre AGM and at a Meet and Greet hosted by the Keewatin/Inkster Neighbourhood Resource Council.

From 2007 to 2008 Margaret was co-host and co-producer with Sophie Kolt of the CKUW radio program Better Than Chocolate.  It was voted CKUW's People's Choice for Favourite Spoken Word Show 2008.
It was broadcasted live on Thursday mornings and included local personalities and news. 
Margaret also wrote for and read her stories on the program.
Her full length play Women of Culture was also broadcasted on the show.

Margaret's story A Traditional Family Easter was included in
‘A/Cross Sections: New Manitoba Writing’, launched November 1, 2007.

Another of Margaret's stories, Home Place Two... Plus One, was published in the
"Home Place 2" section of Prairie Fire magazine Vol. 29, No. 1, which featured work by Winnipeg creative non-fiction writers.  It was launched at McNally Robinson April 24, 2008.

Since 2009 Margaret has been producing two blogs:
Winnipeg is Better Than Chocolate, a continuation of her radio program Better Than Chocolate, is about happenings and people of Winnipeg.
I'm Turning 60... is a more casual, personal blog which includes stories and Maltese recipes.

From 2010 to 2016 Ullrich was the Public Relations Person for The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club.  She has written articles for The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's publication The Lantern and The Thousand Lakes Region, National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's publication The Fusee.

In 2011 Ullrich's story Easter Bread was included in Dust & Fire, Writing & Art by Women 2011, which was launched on March 25, 2011.  The book was published by the Women's Studies Department of Bemidji State University.  The launch took place at the American Indian Resource Center.
She was also awarded the President's Shield for Outstanding Contribution to the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club by W.M.R.C. President Suzanne Lemon for her work in promoting the Club’s annual Spring Open House.

Ullrich has also completed the following online courses offered by the University of Iowa: 
How Writers Write Fiction 2015
How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women
Power of the Pen 2017: Identities and Social Issues in Fiction and Nonfiction
Power of the Pen 2017: Identities and Social Issues in Poetry and Plays

In 2009 Margaret's photo Take the E Train was awarded first place, film print prototype, in The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's annual photo contest.

In 2010 her latchhook rug of of a CN Alco FA-2 engine, with boxcar and caboose, was awarded first place, Arts & Crafts, in the 'Steam on the Prairies', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's Regional Convention's model contest.  

Her photo Take the E Train was awarded third place, black and white prototype print, in the 'Steam on the Prairies', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's 2010 Regional Convention's photo contest.

In 2012 her model entry Depot on CD was awarded the Tyro - Initial Modelling Achievement award by The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club.

In 2013 her model entry N scale Grain Elevator was awarded the Goodall Trophy / first place kit class by the W.M.R.C.  It was also awarded third place, Structure On-line, in the 'Twin Rails to the Twin Cities', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's 2013 Regional Convention's model contest.

In 2014 her cross-stitch steam train, with two cars and caboose, received honourable mention, in the ‘Exploring the Rails', National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's Regional Convention's model contest. 

In 2015 her model entry S scale the Mercantile received honourable mention by the W.M.R.C.  It was also awarded third place, Structure Off-line, in the National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region's 2015 Regional Convention's model contest which was held in Thunder Bay.


  1. Wow! You certainly have a multi-faceted background, Marg! Both in view of all the places you have lived, and considering your broad range of talents! Winnipeg is lucky to have such an ambassador of our city in you.

    I am so pleased to have met you and to becoming familiar with all of your talents. Rock on!

  2. Thank you, Doreen!!
    You are also quite a talented lady, my dear!!

    Given enough time, one can do most anything, given a chance.

    I'm very grateful to be living in Winnipeg. It has everything, and there are venues that allow you to try your hand at anything.
    New York is big time and big bucks, so one ends up specializing if one even gets a chance to try to do something.

    Hurrah for Winnipeg!!

  3. Wow! Margaret, this is really kind of weird and wonderful! Not just the blog, but you. You were raised in Queens!! I'm living in Astoria, on Steinway Street, at Ditmars. If you tell me you're living in North Kildonan, I'll die.

    And ... my boyfriend-soon-to-be-husband is a playwright, Vern Thiessen. It's funny how connected we are. I even went to Red River College! I'm very surprised that we've never met!

    Well ... we have now. GREAT blog. Mine is (I think; It's called "I'm going to need a drink after this.")

    Let's keep in touch.

  4. Hi, Susie! I'm learning through the blogs that the world is a much csmaller and friendlier place. The North End of Winnipeg Rocks!! it's been home since 1988.

    Love your blog! I'm happy to include you with my Blogging friends.

    For everything, there is a season. Now was our season to meet!

    Be well.

  5. Margaret, you had me at The Winnipeg Model Railroad Club. Fascinating on its own. But in addition to everything else you've done. My heart skipped a beat at Maltese recipes though... I'm a proud owner of two Maltese (dogs). haha Would love to know how Malta's food choices different from those of its other Mediterranean neighbours.

  6. Hi, Anna! Yes, the recipes of Malta are a bit different from those of other Mediterranean countries. I've never understood when they advertise "Mediterranean style" anything. Do they mean Spanish, Italian, Egyptian.... ?