Pick, Alison 1975-

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Pick, Alison 1975-

PERSONAL:

Born 1975, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Education: University of Guelph, B.A.; Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, M.Phil.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Poet, writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Bronwen Wallace Award for Poetry, 2002; National Magazine Award for Poetry, 2003; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Literary Award for Poetry, 2005; The Sweet Edge was named a Top 100 Book of 2005 by the Globe and Mail.

WRITINGS:

Question & Answer (poems), Publishers Group West (Berkeley, CA), 2003.

The Sweet Edge (novel), Publishers Group West (Berkeley, CA), 2005.

The Dream World (poems), McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2008.

Work represented in anthologies, including Breathing Fire II: Canada's New Poets, Nightwood Editions, 2004; and Outside of Ordinary: Women's Travel Stories, Second Story Press, 2005; contributor to periodicals, including the Globe and Mail, National Post, Walrus, and enRoute.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alison Pick is a Canadian poet and novelist, whose first book, a collection of poetry titled Question & Answer, was short-listed for several awards. She is also the winner of a CBC Literary Award for a series of poems that appear in her subsequent collection, The Dream World. She was living in Newfoundland when she received the award and told Vanessa Farquharson in an interview for the National Post Online that she would put the modest cash award toward her heating bill. She later moved to Toronto, Ontario.

In reporting the interview, Farquharson noted Pick's comments about writing both poetry and fiction: "I think of my poetry and fiction as separate but complementary…. It's not uncommon to hear poets say you can't do both, like there's a feeling that if you move to fiction you're selling out. But for me it definitely felt like an organic, real pull. It's the same muscle being exercised, just in different ways." "‘Going from poetry to fiction worked both for and against me,’ she says. ‘One of the things people have responded to most is the language—I get some nice compliments that it's working.’"

Pick's first fiction is The Sweet Edge, a story of separation and self discovery. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Pick infuses the novel with shining metaphors, which add a welcome luster to an otherwise stale plot." Adam and Ellen have been together for three years, ever since they met as grad students, when he announces that he needs some space. Time has shown that they have little in common, as demonstrated by the way they spend the summer apart. She, from an upscale background, is somewhat self-centered, while he, from a more middle-class background, has no use for social functions or the clothing required to attend them. He has been unfaithful, and Ellen knows it, but she is desperately trying to keep their relationship intact. While Adam embarks on a solo canoe trip in the Arctic, the now-depressed Ellen works in a Toronto art gallery. As Adam spends fifty days paddling and considering his options, Ellen finds a new friend in Deborah, an eccentric woman who mourns the loss of the baby she gave up for adoption years earlier.

"Pick is adept at chronicling the details of a relationship in a believable way," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Library Journal reviewer Barbara Love felt that The Sweet Edge might appeal to fans of chick lit. "Pick has now revealed herself as a very talented novelist," concluded Maureen O'Connor in Booklist.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

ARC, summer, 2004, Anita Lahey, review of Question & Answer, p. 104.

Booklist, September 1, 2006, Maureen O'Connor, review of The Sweet Edge, p. 58.

Fiddlehead, summer, 2004, Sue Sinclair, review of Question & Answer, p. 153.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of The Sweet Edge, p. 434.

Library Journal, September 15, 2006, Barbara Love, review of The Sweet Edge, p. 50.

Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2006, review of The Sweet Edge, p. 30.

ONLINE

Alison Pick Home Page,http://www.alisonpick.com (December 26, 2007).

Anne McDermid & Associates, Ltd.,http://www.mcdermidagency.com/ (February 8, 2007), author profile.

League of Canadian Poets Web site,http://www.poets.ca/ (December 26, 2007), brief biography.

National Post Online,http://www.nationalpost.com/ (February 27, 2006), Vanessa Farquharson, "From Stanzas to Bonanza," interview.

Seven Oaks,http://www.sevenoaksmag.com/ (March 27, 2006), Derrick O'Keefe, review of The Sweet Edge.