Wendy A. Lewis (1966-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born 1966, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Education: University of Toronto, B.A., 1988; also attended Seneca College.
Agent—c/o Author Correspondence, Red Deer Press, MLT 813 2500 University Dr. N.W., Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4.
Retail store owner, 1989-93; public relations, marketing, and sales manager for a retirement community, 1994-96; writer, 1996—.
Writing for Children contest winner, Writer's Union of Canada, and Canada Council grant, both 2000; Vicky Metcalf Short Story Award, Canadian Authors Association, 2001, for "Revelations."
Graveyard Girl (stories), Red Deer Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2000.
(With Marilyn Metts) In Abby's Hands, illustrated by Peter Ledwon, Red Deer Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2004.
Contributor of short stories to anthologies, including All Join In, Prentice Hall Ginn (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), 1999; In My World, Prentice Hall Ginn (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), 1999; and Just Watch Me, Prentice Hall Ginn (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), 1999.
Work in Progress
Picture books and chapter books; a novel for young adults.
In an online interview with the University of Manitoba, Wendy A. Lewis said: "I like writing about characters in their teen years, when relationships, whether with other young people or family members, are so important. I'm also interested in how the fairytales we grow up with are buried in our subconscious and come back to haunt our relationships later in life." Lewis has brought
those preoccupations to bear on her debut collection of short stories, Graveyard Girl, a linked series of tales about a group of children and teens who have participated in a re-enactment of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Some of the tales are set in 1983, around the time of the celebrated royal wedding, and others take place ten years later, as the younger children who participated in the mock event come of age themselves. The stories are anchored by the recollections of Ginger, the "Graveyard Girl" of the title.
"What I tried to do in Graveyard Girl was create a snapshot of young people in a small town," Lewis explained in her online interview. "I've always been fascinated by projects, like a play, that kids are working on. You look around, and see the range of personalities: there's always a shy person, the bubbly, outgoing one, the athletic jock, and so on. I don't mean stereotypes; I hope the characters in Graveyard Girl have more depth than that."
Graveyard Girl grew out of writing workshops Lewis attended from 1994 through 1996, in which she shared and honed her work. In her interview she said: "Now, if young people ask me, 'How do you become a writer?' I say, 'Write, write and write more! Writing is a craft that you learn, over time, by practising … A LOT.'"
A Publishers Weekly critic of Graveyard Girl admired the way the various characters struggle with challenges that are at once unique and universal. A teenage couple have a child and begin to raise it despite their parents' disapproval. Another character grieves as his sister battles cancer. "Graveyard Girl" herself is haunted by her past and by her lasting love for a young man who has left town for a career as a professional hockey player. The Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the "characters are sympathetic" and the collection contains "tender moments." In her Booklist review, Anne O'Malley concluded of Graveyard Girl: "The characters are compelling and the stories deeply felt."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 2001, Anne O'Malley, review of Graveyard Girl, p. 940.
Publishers Weekly, February 19, 2001, review of Graveyard Girl, p. 92.
School Library Journal, May, 2001, Sandra L. Doggett, review of Graveyard Girl, p. 156.
University of Manitoba Outreach, http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/ (November 25, 2000), interview with Lewis.*