About the Author Susan Musgrave

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UPDATE: April 2012


Origami Dove, poetry published by M&S Spring 2011




"Silent in Its Shout" (personal essay) first prize ($1000) in the ACCENTI WRITING CONTEST, April 14, 2012

New Books:

GIVEN (novel) Thistledown 2012

KISS, TICKLE, CUDDLE, HUG (Board Book) Orca 2012

Feature Writer in Branch Magazine, April 2012:

Short Form Resume:

Poet, novelist, children's writer, columnist, reviewer, editor and essayist. She lives on Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands, off Canada’s west coast.

She travels widely, both at home and abroad, to give speeches, writing workshops and poetry readings, and has been Writer-in-Residences at four Canadian universities. Since 1991 she has worked online with thousands of high school students across Canada through the Writers in Electronic Residence Programme. In 1997-98 she was Chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada. She teaches poetry in UBC’s Optional Residency MFA in Creative Writing Programme.

She wrote the lyrics to a song, “Missing,” dedicated to sixty-two of the missing women on Vancouver’s downtown eastside, which has recently been released on a CD. Proceeds from sales go to Haven Society, who provide a transition house for women and children who have suffered abuse, as well as a Victim Services/Women’s Assault Programme on Vancouver Island.


Susan Musgrave has been nominated and has won awards for writing in five different categories: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and for her work as an editor. Four times short-listed for the Governor General’s Award, most recently (fall 2011) for Origami Dove, a collection of poetry published by McClelland and Stewart.

She received the Tilden (CBC/Saturday Night) Canadian Literary Award for Poetry, 1996. Also in 1996 she received the Vicky Metcalf Short Story Editor’s Award. In 1999 her children’s book, Dreams Are More Real Than Bathtubs was selected by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre for Our Choice 1999-2000.

Born March 12, 1951, a fourth-generation Vancouver Islander. Has spent extended periods of time living in Ireland, England, Panama and Colombia. Married Stephen Reid in 1986. Has two daughters, Charlotte Musgrave (1982) and Sophie Musgrave Reid (1989). She also has two grandchildren, Beatrice and Lucca Musgrave.


Long Form Resume:


Given The characters from Susan Musgrave’s Cargo of Orchids are back in this brilliantly engaging novel.
(Thistledown, 2012) Thistledown Press  Available Now

Cargo of Orchids (fiction) (national bestseller) Knopf, Fall 2000, Trade Paper edition, Vintage, Fall 2001; Harper and Collins, Australia, 2002; MeridianZero, Italy, 2005

The Dancing Chicken (Methuen, 1987)

The Charcoal Burners (McClelland & Stewart. 1980 (Finalist in Seal First Novel Competition and short-listed for Governor General's Award); paperback by Totem in 1981)


Origami Dove (M&S,2011; Finalist for Governor General’s Award for Poetry; Globe and Mail Top 100 Picks, 2011)

When The World is Not Our Home: Selected Poems 1985-2000 (Thistledown, 2009)

Obituary of Light: the Sangan River Meditations (Leaf Press) Spring 2009

What the Small Day Cannot Hold: Collected Poems 1970-1985 (Beach Holme, 2000)

Things That Keep and Do Not Change (McClelland & Stewart, 1999; Included on The Globe and Mail's Best 100 Books of the Year List, 1999; Finalist, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, 2000)

Forcing the Narcissus (McClelland & Stewart, 1994)

The Embalmer's Art: Poems New and Selected (Exile Editions, 1991)

Cocktails at the Mausoleum (McClelland & Stewart, 1985); Beach Holme (revised edition, 1992)

Tarts and Muggers: Poems New and Selected (McClelland & Stewart, 1982)\

A Man to Marry, a Man to Bury (McClelland & Stewart,1979) (Short-listed for Governor General's Award)

Becky Swan's Book (Porcupine's Quill, 1978)

Selected Strawberries and Other Poems (Sono Nis Press, 1977)

Kiskatinaw Songs (Pharos Press, 1977. With Sean Virgo, illustrated by Douglas Tait)

The Impstone (McClelland & Stewart, 1976; Omphalos Press, London, 1978)

Grave-Dirt and Selected Strawberries (Macmillan, 1973; Short- listed for Governor General's Award)

Entrance of the Celebrant (Macmillan, 1972; Fuller d'Arch Smith, London)

Songs of the Sea-Witch (Sono Nis Press, 1970)

BOOKS PUBLISHED (for children)

FORTHCOMING: Love You More (Orca, 2013)

Kiss Tickle, Cuddle Hug ( Publisher: Orca Book Publishers Pub Date: October/01/2012)

Dreams are More Real than Bathtubs (Fiction; Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. Orca. 1998. Selected by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre for Our Choice 1999-2000)

Kestrel and Leonardo (Studio 123, 1990. Poetry. Illustrated by Linda Rogers)

Hag Head (Clarke, Irwin & Co., 1980. Fiction. Illustrated by Carol Evans)

Gullband (J.J. Douglas, 1974. Poetry. Illustrated by Rikki Ducornet)

BOOKS PUBLISHED (non-fiction)

You're in Canada Now...A Memoir of Sorts (Thistledown, 2005)

Musgrave Landing: Musings on the Writing Life(Stoddart, 1994)

Great Musgrave (Prentice-Hall 1989; short-listed for the 1990 Stephen Leacock Award for Humour)



Editor for Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Sask) short fiction, poetry and Y/A titles 1994-2012 (ongoing)

Editor for Justice James Clarke (Exile) poetry (1997-2001)

Editor for Gale Garnett's Visible Worlds (Stoddart) fiction 1999 and Transient Dancing (MacArthur @ Co, 2003)

Editor for Harbour Publishing, fiction 2000

Because You Loved Being a Stranger: 55 Poets Celebrate Patrick Lane (Harbour Publishing, 1994)

Clear Cut Words: Writers for Clayoquot (Hawthorne Society for Reference West, 1993)

Breaking the Surface (Sono Nis, 2000): Winner BC2000 Book Award)

Series Editor of the following Annick YA anthologies:

Nerves Out Loud: Critical Moments in the Lives of Seven Teen Girls (Annick Press, Fall 2001; Short-listed: ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award for children's/YA non-fiction, US, 2002; short-listed for the Norman Fleck Award,2002)

You Be Me: Friendship in the Lives of Teen Girls (Annick, 2002)

Certain Things About My Mother: Daughters Speak (Annick, 2003)

Perfectly Secret: The Hidden Lives of Seven Teen Girls (Annick, 2004)


In the Small Hours of the Rain Reference West (Victoria) 1991; winner, First Prize, of b.p. Nichol Poetry Chapbook Award, 1991)

Mother’s Day Behind the West Hotel published by Poetgoat Press, in a limited edition. The poems in this sequence were inspired by the stories of six women, all heroin addicted prostitutes, from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Director Stan Feingold (The Eyes Multimedia Productions) commissioned me to write a “script” for a one hour documentary art film - not a conventional “objective” script but a series of original poems. Segments of these poems were used as a voice-over in HEROINES, which premiered on Bravo! on Father’s Day, 2001, and launched the fall 2002 season on the CBC’s ROUGH CUTS.

HEROINES has won many awards, both at home and internationally. In 2002 it won four Golden Sheaf Awards at the Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival, the longest running film festival in North America. In addition it was nominated for Best Editing, Best Script and Best Director. As well, HEROINES was awarded the National Film Board’s Kathleen Shannon Award, which is presented to an independent filmmaker whose production “provides an opportunity for people outside the dominant culture to speak for themselves.”


The Spiritualization of Cruelty six poems with drawings by Pavel Skalnik, limited edition, lettered and numbered, 1992


Many pamphlets (limited editions) from the Sceptre Press in England. From Dreadnaught 52-Pickup, #9 (1976): Between Friends. Taboo Man was published by Celia Duthie, 1981, in a limited edition of 50 signed copies. The Plane Put Down in Sacramento and "I do not know if things that happen can be said to come to pass or only happen" as broadsides, by William Hoffer. Desireless: Tom York (1947-1988) published by Slug Press, 1988; The Situation in Which We are Both Amateurs published by Lazara Press, 1998.


Canadian Literature in the Seventies (Holt,Rinehart and Winston, 1980); New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse (Oxford, 1982); Antologia de la Poesia anglocanadiense contemporanea (Los Libros de la Frontera, Barcelona, Spain, 1985); The New Canadian Poets 1970-1985 (McClelland & Stewart, 1985); The Norton Introduction to Poetry, 3rd Edition, 1986, and 6th Edition, 1994; The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, 1988, 1989; The Norton Introduction to Literature, Regular, 6th Edition, 1994 and Shorter, 6th Edition, 1994; The Great Big Book of Canadian Humour edited by Allan Gould (Macmillan, 1992); portrait included in Barbara Woodley's Portraits: Canadian Women in Focus (Doubleday. 1992); Poetry: An Introduction (Bedford Books of St Martin's Press, 1994); Bedford Introduction to Literature (Bedford Books, 1995); Best American Poetry, 1995, edited by David Lehman (Scribner/ Simon & Schuster); Uncommon Wealth (Oxford, 1997)

SHORT FICTION has recently appeared in the following anthologies: Fever: Sensual Stories by Women Writers, edited by Michelle Slung (Harcourt Brace, 1994); Best American Erotica, 1995 edited by Susie Bright (Simon & Schuster)

NON-FICTION has been published in everything from The Imperial Oil Review to Vice.

ESSAYS have been anthologized in Horizons edited by Ken Roy ((Harcourt Brace, 1994); Far and Wide edited by Sean Armstrong (Nelson, 1994); Without a Guide: Contemporary Women's Travel Adventure, edited by Katherine Govier (Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 1994); DESIRE In Seven Voices, edited by Lorna Crozier, Douglas & McIntyre, 1999

COLUMNS The Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, STEP Magazine (Vancouver) Cut To: Magazine, Victoria, Sidney Review, Sidney, B.C. (1988-1991) Ottawa Citizen (Op-Ed page) September 2001- March 2003, Focus 2004-2008

REVIEWS frequently for the Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Globe and Mail

PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS (poetry): Canada: Toronto Life, Exile, The Malahat Review, Queen's Quarterly, Event, The Prison Journal, Brick, Poetry Canada Review (cover and feature); Writers' Quarterly (cover and feature), Border Crossings, Anthos, and Canadian Literature

USA: Poetry Studies, Mundus Artium, Three Rivers Poetry Journal, Boundary 2, Negative Capability Nimbus, Iris, Pivot, Ladybug (for children), Prairie Schooner, Southern Review; (anthology) Best American Poetry, 1995, edited by David Lehman (Scribner/ Simon & Schuster)

Britain: Ambit, Poetry Review, The Little Word Machine, New Poetry, New Departures, Bananas, Aquarius and others

Australia: Helix, Poetry Australia
Denmark: Anglofiles

ONLINE: Essays on salon.com and many others.
Bare Hands Poetry http://barehandspoetrytwo.tumblr.com/


Has won prizes in five categories: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children's books and for her work as an editor

—National Magazine Award (silver) 1981
—R.P. Adams Short Fiction Award (3rd prize) for "The Remains
Of Edward's", published in Negative Capability, Mobile,
—b.p. nichol Poetry Chapbook Award (First Prize) 1991
Readers' Choice Award for poems published in the Winter
1993 edition of Prairie Schooner
—CBC/Saturday Night/Tilden Award for Poetry, 1996 (First
—Vicky Metcalf Short Story Editor's Award, 1996
—Panty Lines: First Prize for Ice-Age Lingerie, 1999
—National Magazine Award for "Personal Journalism" in
Saturday Night, 2000: Honourable Mention
—Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, Honourable Mention, 2000,
for Things That Keep and Do Not Change
—Lifetime Achievement Award, Pandora Collective, 2010

—Spirit Bear Award, 2012: The tribute recognizes the
significance of a vital and enduring contribution to
the poetry of the Pacific Northwest, and is presented
every two years. The award was founded in 2010 by B.C.
authors Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier.
Lane calls Musgrave one of Canada's most remarkable
and enduring writers. "Her presence as a writer and
teacherhas changed this land of ours. Her books have
named and placed us spiritually," Lane said in a news

"Her artistic presence over the past 40 years has
helped create who we are. She is as important to us as
Emily Carr. Her continuing legacy will long endure."
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/poet+honoured/6354256/story.html#ixzz1szYCpSQx

ACCENTI WRITING CONTEST, April 14, 2012 "Silent in Its Shout" (personal essay) first prize ($1000) http://www.accenti.ca/writing-contest


Poetry Competition for the Saskatchewan Government's
Department of Culture and Youth, 1978
Canada Council Short term Grant Jury, September 1, 1983
Canada Council "B" Grant Jury, September 1984; September
Harbourfront's "Discovery Night", Toronto, 1984
Canada Council Block Grant Jury, 1985
Canada Council Public Readings Programme Jury, 1985
Dorothy Shoemaker Poetry Awards, Kitchener, Ontario, 1985
POETRY '86 National Poetry Competition, 1986
Limerick Contest for Victoria Department of Tourism, 1987
Regional Judge (Canada and Caribbean area) of British
Airways Commonwealth Poetry Competition, Trinidad,
Canada Council "A" Grant Jury, 1988
British Columbia Criminal Justice Association in
conjunction with the National Parole Board and
Correctional Services Canada, Essay Contest for
National Crime Prevention Week, 1988
Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, 1989
Canada Council Project Grant Jury, October 1989
The 1990 National Radio Awards: Best Actor, Male
Stephen Leacock Limerick Award, 1990, 1991, 1992
St. John's City, Newfoundland Writing Awards, 1990
CAA Poetry Awards, 1991
Okanagan College Short Story Award, 1991
Prism International Short Fiction Award, 1992
Ontario Arts Council Periodicals Jury, 1992
Governor General's Award for Poetry Jury, 1992
Ontario Arts Council Works in Progress Jury, 1993, 1995
Saskatchewan Book Awards, 1994
Hart House (University of Toronto) Short Story Competition,
The League of Canadian Poets Eighth National Poetry
Competition, 1995
"Writes of Spring '95" Creative Writing Contest
(Scarborough Board of Education) 1995
(m)other Tongue Press chapbook Contest, 1996
B.C. Cultural Branch Scholarship Awards, 1996
B.C. Festival of the Arts, 1997
Bronwen Wallace Award, 1998
City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, 1998
ReLit Awards, 2001
Saskatchewan Book Awards (Poetry) 2003
Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, 2003
C.B.C. Poetry Awards, 2006
C.B.C.'S "Canada Reads" 2006
Canada Council fiction jury, 2011
Arc Poetry Magazine Archibald Lampman Award, 2012



Gullband (produced and directed by Paully Jardine) was
Performedn by the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto
(Christmas 1976) and by the Touchstone Theatre in
Vancouver (Christmas 1977).
"Valentine's Day in Jail", adapted from her novel, Cargo of
Orchids, was produced by Ruby Slippers in Vancouver,
B.C. in their 1995 production of "Herotica".


1971: Struga Poetry Festival, Yugoslavia
1980: Anglo-Canadian Poetry Exchange: a two-week reading
tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Paris, sponsored
by the League of Canadian Poets, Dept. of External
Affairs, The British Council and the National Poetry
Secretariat, London. With bill bissett and George
1983: Irish Tour: a three-week reading tour of southern
Ireland; 21 venues. With Robin Skelton
1984: Rotterdam Poetry Festival, Holland, and Poetry
Olympics, London
1993: Budapest Spring Festival, Hungary, with Roch Carrier
1993: Stockholm Book Festival, Sweden, with Aritha van Herk
1995: Danish Association of Teachers of English; Odense,
2005: Noir in Festival, Courmayeur, Italy.

In addition, I have been giving numerous poetry readings, lectures and speeches in bookstores, libraries, art galleries, museums, prisons, psychiatric wards, and high schools across Canada and the US, since 1975.


University of Waterloo, 1983-1985
University of New Brunswick, Summer Session 1985
Vancouver Public Library, National Book Week 1986
Festival of the Written Arts, Pender Harbour, B.C. 1987
Ganaraska Writer's Colony, Fiction Workshop. June 26 –
July 9, 1988
Sidney Public Library, Sidney, B.C. Short-term Writer-in-
Residence, April, 1989
Ganges High School, Short-term-Writer-in-Residence,
November 1989, February 1991
George P. Vanier Secondary School, B.C. Short-term Writer-
in-Residency, May 1991
Kaslo Summer School of the Arts, Short-term-writer-in-
Residence, August 1991
University of Western Ontario, 1992-1993
Festival of the Written Arts, Sechelt, B.C. November 11-14,
1993, May 23-27, 1994
Writer-in-Electronic-Residence, 1991-2009 (ongoing) (writer
Online and writer/moderator through York University
and the Writers'Development Trust
Banff Centre for the Arts, November 1994
University of Toronto Presidential Writer-in-Residence
Victoria School of Writing, 1996, 1998
The Ralph Gustafson Chair of Poetry, Malaspina College,
Fall 2000


Arvon Foundation, Sheepwash, Devon, 1975: Instructor, with
Brian Patten, Arvon Foundation, Lumb Bank, Yorkshire,
1980: Instructor, with Liz Lochead
University of Waterloo, 1983-1984: Instructor, English 335
(Creative Writing)
University of Waterloo, 1984-1985: Instructor, English 336
(Advanced Creative Writing)
Kootenay School of Writing, 1986: Instructor, Creative
Writing Workshop
Camosun College, Victoria, B.C.: Instructor, Creative
Writing, 1988-2008
Mentor, B.C. Festival of the Arts, 2001
University of Northern B.C., Quesnel, B.C. 2001-2011 (ongoing) Five-day summer (credit) courses in Short Fiction
and Poetry
Island Mountain Arts; poetry and fiction workshops in
Wells, B.C. 2001-2012 (ongoing)
Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia's
Optional- Residency MFA in Creative Writing Programme
2005 (ongoing)
University of Victoria, Writing 302, Summer School, 2006-


Profiled on BCTV, December 1985 and October 1986.
CTV LIFETIME October 1986. CBC NEWS September 1987.
CTV LIFETIME Fall 1987. THE JOURNAL, Fall 1987.
BCTV, February 1988. CKVU TV, December 1989.
CANADA IN VIEW (CTV, April 1990)
The Shirley Show (CTV January 1992)
Front Page Challenge (February 1993)
Canada AM (March 1994)
CBC Life and Times: "The Poet and the Bandit" (January
Heroines (Bravo, 2001): Poetic-script for documentary film
On Lincoln Clarkes and the heroin-addicted prostitutes
Of Vancouver's lower east-side

"Where Did you sleep last night" (teenagers recruited into the sex trade) and "Truth and Betrayal" (the stress teenagers feel about being expected to keep secrets) - two 15-minute film scripts for the National Film Board's "Teenagers at Risk" series, 1998

"Valentine's Day in Jail", a chapter from a recently completed novel, CARGO OF ORCHIDS, published in Fever and Best American Erotica, 1995 was optioned by Back Alley Films and produced in their series "Bliss" (Showcase, 2003).

Poems have been broadcast on the C.B.C's Anthology, The Hornby Collection, etc.

"The Wages of Love" was produced by the C.B.C.'s State of the Arts in March 1987.

Poems have been broadcast on Poetry Now (Radio Three, BBC London).

Reviewed for Book Panel on the C.B.C.'s Journal 1989-1991. Has spoken on C.B.C.'s Sunday Morning, Morningside, Word for Word, Afternoon Show and others, on a wide variety of subjects: talking books, sonnets, erotic literature, politics, etc.

October 1994: Commissioned to write a series of nine radio essays for C.B.C.'s Morningside.


In 2003 she wrote the lyrics to a song, “Missing,” dedicated to sixty-two of the missing women on Vancouver’s downtown eastside, which has recently been released on a CD. Music by Brad Prevadoras, vocals by Amber Smith. Proceeds from sales go to Haven Society, who provide a transition house for women and children who have suffered abuse, as well as a Victim Services/Women’s Assault Programme on Vancouver Island.

MEMBER: Writers' Union of Canada (Chair, 1997-1998)


McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



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