BC writers in 2024 Best Canadian Series
November 14th, 2023
This year’s editions of the Best Canadian Series, a compilation of essays, poetry and short fiction published by Biblioasis, include over a dozen BC-based writers.
Best Canadian Essays 2024 – Edited by Marcello Di Cinto
Lyndsie Bourgon (at right)
Bourgon is a BC-based writer, oral historian and 2018 National Geographic Explorer. She writes about the environment and how it intertwines with history, culture and identity. Her features have been published in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, the Guardian, the Oxford American, Aeon, The Walrus and Hazlitt, among other magazines. Her book, Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods (Greystone, 2022) was a finalist for the Nellie by Chanticleer International Book Awards for Journalistic Non-fiction.
A student in UBC’s Creative Writing program, Currah is an essayist and poet. Her essay explores a gender, sexuality and religion. Identifying as a leather-jacket-latte-toting lesbian, Currah’s work seeks to reach those who need to hear it most. Her writing has appeared in The Spotlong Review and Defunkt Magazine.
Fiona Tinwei Lam
Fiona Lam has authored two poetry books and a children’s book. She edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer (Leaf Press, 2011) and co-edited Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage (Caitlin Press, 2018) with Jane Silcott. Lam wib The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest, and was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Her work is featured in numerous anthologies, and she has presented poetry videos at festivals worldwide. Additionally, she teaches at Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies.
Best Canadian Stories 2024 – Edited by Lisa Moore
Billy-Ray Belcourt, a poet, scholar and author hailing from the Driftpile Cree Nation, explores a diverse range of themes in his works including decolonial love, grief, intimacy, queer sexuality and the significant role of Indigenous women in social resistance movements. His acclaimed poetry collection, This Wound is a World (Frontenac House, 2017) earned a spot among CBC’s top ten poetry collections of 2017 and secured the 2018 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize. A Rhodes Scholar in 2016, Belcourt currently serves as an assistant professor in Indigenous Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.
Corinna Chong is a writer, editor and graphic designer based in Kelowna. She published her first novel, Belinda’s Rings (NeWest, 2013), and won the CBC Short Story Prize for Kids in Kindergarten, a short story that navigated the nuances of pregnancy loss and the struggle to talk about it in an empathetic way. She published her debut collection of short stories, The Whole Animal (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023), and her short fiction has appeared in magazines including Grain, Room and Riddle Fence.
Best Canadian Poetry 2024 – Edited by Bardia Sinaee
A writer and associate professor in the Department of English at University of Victoria, Nicholas Bradley focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry, Canadian literature and American literature, and the literature of the Pacific Northwest. He has published numerous critical essays and reviews, including the afterword for The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane (Harbour, 2011) and his poetry collection Rain Shadow (The University of Alberta Press, 2018) explores issues of belonging and place across Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
Hilary Clark was born and lived in Vancouver until 1990. She graduated from SFU and completed her PhD at UBC. Now retired, she lives in Victoria. Her first book More Light (Brick Books, 1998) won the 1999 Pat Lowther Award and the 1999 Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry. Her book The Dwelling of Weather (Brick Books, 2003) was shortlisted for the 2003 Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry (Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award) and the 2003 Saskatoon Book Award.
With an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, Kayla Czaga is the online poetry mentor for Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio. Her debut collection, For Your Safety Please Hold On (Nightwood Editions, 2014), received the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and nominations for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the BC Book Prizes’ Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Her poems, featured in various publications, have earned recognition, including wins in prestigious competitions like The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize and ARC Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year Award. Czaga lives with her wife in Victoria.
Meghan Kemp-Gee writes poetry, comics and scripts of all kinds. She has also worked as a writing teacher, screenplay consultant and ultimate frisbee coach. She received her BA from Amherst College and MA and MFA from Chapman University. She won the Poetry Society of America 2014 Lyric Poetry Award. Her work has also appeared in Copper Nickel, Helen: A Literary Magazine, The Rush, Switchback and Skyd Magazine. She currently lives somewhere between Vancouver and Fredericton, where she is a PhD student at the University of New Brunswick.
Anna Moore writes poetry, fiction and the occasional essay. She holds a BFA in creative writing from the University of Victoria and is currently working on a poetry collection about sports and other rituals. Moore made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for her work, Lacuna and The Fishermen. She has work appearing in Grain, The Scores, The Antigonish Review, and Contemporary Verse 2. She currently resides in Victoria.
Originally from Saskatchewan and a graduate of Goshen College in Indiana, Barbara Nickel holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. She has a versatile writing career, contributing poetry for adults published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Walrus and Best Canadian Poetry 2021. Notably, her collection The Gladys Elegies (Coteau Books, 1997) received the Pat Lowther Award. In the realm of children’s literature, her titles such as Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach (Puffin Canada, 2006) and A Boy Asked the Wind (Red Deer Press, 2015) have garnered recognition, with the former winning a B.C. & Yukon Book Prize. Barbara’s recent works include the poetry collection Essential Tremor (Caitlin Press, 2021) and the children’s novel Dear Peter, Dear Ulla (Thistledown Press, 2021) the latter having received accolades and nominations. Barbara lives in Yarrow, BC, with her husband and two sons.
Tolu Oloruntoba, originally from Ibadan, Nigeria, practiced medicine before becoming an acclaimed poet. His poetry collections, The Junta of Happenstance (Anstruther, 2021) and Each One a Furnace (McClelland & Stewart, 2022), have earned him recognition, including the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize and Governor General’s Literary Award. Oloruntoba explores existential and metaphysical themes, intertwining them with reflections on urban life, mental health and immigration. Beyond his literary pursuits, he is engaged in healthcare management. In 2022, Oloruntoba served as the League of Canadian Poets Anne Szumigalski Lecturer and is a Civitella Ranieri fellow. He currently resides in Surrey.
Raised in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, Matt Rader studied poetry at the University of Victoria. He is the author of seven books, his latest collection of poems titled Ghosthawk (Nightwood, 2021), written about the wildflowers he encountered in the mountains, canyons and woodlands of his home in the Okanagan Valley. His latest work was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2022. Rader’s work has appeared in Best Canadian Poetry, Geist, The Walrus, Wales Arts Review, The Fiddlehead and The Malahat Review. Rader is a core member of the Department of Creative Studies at UBC Okanagan where he lectures in creative writing.
Meaghan Rondeau studied classics and philosophy in Calgary and Seattle. She found herself in Vancouver, pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, focusing on poetry and (very liberal) translation from Latin, ancient Greek and Old English. She also writes plays, nonfiction, satire, poetry, short fiction (that’s inappropriate for most contexts), nonfiction and rap lyrics. Her work has appeared in The Moose and Pussy and Room magazines, and she was shortlisted for Room’s poetry contest in 2013.