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W(illiam) D(empsey) Valgardson (1939-) Biography

Awards, Honors, SidelightsPersonal, Career, Member, Writings, Adaptations

Born 1939, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Education: University of Manitoba, B.A., 1961, B.Ed., 1966; University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1969. Religion: Lutheran. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, gardening.

English teacher in Riverton, Manitoba, Canada, 1961-62, Snow Lake, Manitoba, 1964-65, Pinawa, Manitoba, 1965-67, and Tuxedo, Manitoba, 1969-70; art teacher in Transcona, Manitoba, 1963-64; Cottey College, Nevada, MO, instructor, 1970-72, assistant professor of English, 1972-74, chair of department, 1971-74; University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, professor, 1974-2004, chair of creative writing department, 1982-87, 1999-2004.

Writers' Union of Canada, Canadian Authors Association (president, 1985-86), Periodical Writers of Canada, American Writers' Program.


Thor, illustrated by Ange Zhange, Groundwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994, published as Winter Rescue, McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Sarah and the People of Sand River, illustrated by Ian Wallace, Groundwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

Garbage Creek and Other Stories, Groundwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

The Divorced Kids Club and Other Stories, Groundwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Frances, Groundwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.


Bloodflowers, Oberon (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1973.

God Is Not a Fish Inspector, Oberon (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1975.

Red Dust, Oberon (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1978.

What Can't Be Changed Shouldn't Be Mourned, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1990.

Also author of "A Matter of Balance" and "Chicken Lady."


In the Gutting Shed (poems), Turnstone Press (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), 1976, revised edition, 1981.

Gentle Sinners (novel), Oberon (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1980.

The Carpenter of Dreams (poems), Skaldhus Press (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1986.

The Girl with the Botticelli Face (novel), Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1992.

The Hockey Fan, Hawthorne Society (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1994.

Contributor to anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories 1971, edited by Martha Foley and David Burnett, Houghton Mifflin, 1971; Stories from Western Canada, edited by Rudy Wiebe, Macmillan, 1972; Sunlight and Shadows, New English Library, 1974; New Canadian Stories, Oberon, 1974; New Canadian Fiction, Bantam, 1975; and Moderne Erzähler der Welt-Kanada, Erdman, 1976. Contributor of articles, stories, and poems to literary journals, including Alphabet, Antigonish Review, Atlantic Advocate, Canadian Forum, Dalhousie Review, Fiddlehead, Inscape, Jeopardy, Midwest Quarterly, New Student Review, Queen's Quarterly, Reader's Quarterly of Icelandic Literature and Thought, Tamarack Review, and Windsor Review.

Since 1973, Valgardson has adapted many of his short stories for short films and radio plays broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Icelandic National Radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among others. These include dramatizations of The Burning, Bloodflowers, A Manitoba Accident, Granite Point, The Cave Carpenter of Dreams, The Man from Snaefellsness, The Girl with the Botticelli Face, and Wrinkles; the docudramas An Unacceptable Standard of Cockpit Practice, and Ukranian Journey; and an original drama, Seiche.

Many of Valgardson's stories have been translated into other languages, including Russian, Ukrainian, Icelandic, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, German, and French.

Waiting for Morning, a half-hour documentary on Valgardson and the Gimli area, was commissioned by the Manitoba government.

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