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Dickinson, Don 1947–

Dickinson, Don 1947–

(Donald P. Dickinson, Donald Percy Dickinson)

PERSONAL: Born December 28, 1947, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada; son of John Crabtree (a national park warden) and Grace Lily (a homemaker; maiden name, Green) Dickinson; married Chellie Margaret Eaton (a medical clinic manager), May 1, 1970; children: Luke, Paul, Alice. Ethnicity: "British." Education: University of Saskatchewan, B.A. (physical education), 1970, B.A. (English; with honors), 1973; University of British Columbia, M.F.A., 1979. Politics: Social Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Hockey, hiking, canoeing, reading, weight-training.

ADDRESSES: Home—554 Victoria St., Lillooet, British Columbia V0K 1V0, Canada. Agent—Denise Bukowski, Bukowski Agency, 14 Prince Arthur Ave., Ste. 202, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1A9, Canada. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Senior English teacher at public school in Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada, 1981–2003; retired, 2003. Writing instructor at University of British Columbia, 2004–05, and Thompson River University, 2004–06. Worked at various jobs in Canada and abroad.

MEMBER: Writers' Union of Canada.

AWARDS, HONORS: Bankson Award for Fiction, 1979; nomination for Governor-General's Award, 1991; Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; nomination for Best First Novel award, Books in Canada.


(With Barry Dempster and Dave Margoshes) Third Impressions (short stories), compiled by John Metcalf, Oberon Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1982.

Fighting the Upstream (short stories), Oberon Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

Blue Husbands (short stories), Porcupine's Quill (Erin, Ontario, Canada), 1991.

The Crew (novel), Coteau Books (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1993.

Robbiestime (novel), HarperFlamingo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Work represented in anthologies, including Best Canadian Short Fiction, Number 1; Metavisions; Words We Call Home; The New Writers; and Volk und Veldt. Fiction editor, Prism International, 1977–79.

ADAPTATIONS: Blue Husbands was adapted for radio.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Two novels, Mr. Harvey's Climb and Seeking That Place; research on the Cariboo gold rush, with a novel (tentatively titled Somebody Lied) expected to result.

SIDELIGHTS: Don Dickinson once told CA: "I spent seven years traveling to different parts of the world, working at jobs as varied as fitness instructor and shepherd."

Recently Dickinson added: "I used to envy writers who could trace the lineage of their craft back through the mists of childhood. They produced stories at six, novels at twelve, volumes of poetry in their teens. My own upbringing was a rowdy tag-game of work, sports, and contrived adventures, and my place in the world was defined by my aspirations: to be a painter, an explorer, a National Hockey League hockey star. There were always books, of course, but I was twenty-four before I began to write and almost thirty before I discovered what every serious writer knows: what is lived and what is written are not separate beings. The blood of one feeds the muscle of the other, and the printed word gives breath to both.

"Unfashionably quaint, I write my fiction longhand, ball-point pen to yellow-lined paper. Longhand: the word suggests contemplation (long) and craft (hand), and though at times I've been branded a Luddite, the truth is I write this way because I'm a lousy typist. So on one level, my writing is a handmade fabrication.

"That suits me fine. I like making things—bookshelves and simple pieces of furniture now, moccasins and the like when I was a boy. The intimacy of seeing something take shape under my hand, of seeing words flow out the end of my arm, gives me a deep satisfaction. When I finish a story, I sometimes creep up on the manuscript (as I did my to my children when they were babies), lift it gently, and weigh it in my hands (as I did my little ones). Why? To reassure myself that this fabrication, this being, is solid, has weight, is alive.

"As a young man I spent several years traveling to various parts of the world, working at whatever jobs could be had. Writing fiction is one more way I can explore—and I get to take my reader with me."



Books in Canada, June-July, 1988, review of Fighting the Upstream, p. 6; February, 1992, review of Blue Husbands, pp. 42-43; January, 1994, Gary Draper, review of The Crew, p. 47; July, 2001, review of Robbiestime, p. 36.

Canadian Literature, autumn, 1992, Jill Lebihan, review of Blue Husbands, p. 179.

CM: Reviewing Journal of Canadian Materials for Young People, September, 1988, review of Fighting the Upstream, p. 168.

Cross-Canada Writers' Quarterly (annual), 1989, review of Fighting the Upstream, p. 26.

Essays on Canadian Writing, winter, 1992, Lawrence Mathews, review of Blue Husbands, p. 116.

Event, spring, 1992, review of Blue Husbands, pp. 123-125.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), February 23, 1988, review of Fighting the Upstream; October 12, 1991, p. C2.

Maclean's, November 13, 2000, review of Robbiestime, p. 78.

Malahat Review, winter, 1991, review of Blue Husbands, pp. 110-111.

National Post, August 19, 2000, review of Robbiestime, p. B11.

NeWest Review, February-March, 1994, review of The Crew, pp. 29-30.

Prairie Fire, autumn, 1994, review of The Crew, pp. 150-151.

Quarry, autumn, 1988, review of Fighting the Upstream, pp. 100-102; spring, 1992, review of Blue Husbands, pp. 85-86.

Quill and Quire, July, 1991, review of Blue Husbands, p. 48; November, 1993, review of The Crew, p. 33; July, 2000, review of Robbiestime, p. 32.

Resource Links, October, 2002, Heather Ganshorn, review of Robbiestime, p. 54.

Vancouver Sun, March 21, 1992, Virginia Aulin, review of Blue Husbands.

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