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Jack Hodgins

Jack Hodgins was born in 1938 and raised, just like his parents, in the logging community of Merville[?], a small town located in the Comox Valley[?] on Vancouver Island, which provides the setting for many of his stories. He started writing as a young boy and left home in 1957 to study English Literature at the University of British Columbia. There he took a course in creative writing taught by Earle Birney[?]. This experience strengthened his dreams of becoming a published writer.

Hodgins married his wife, Dianne, in 1960 and graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Education. He then returned to Vancouver Island where he became teacher for High School English in Nanaimo[?]. He held this job for nearly twenty years, until 1979. Despite a busy teaching career and family life with his wife and three children, he still managed to find time to write and submit his works for publication. It was, however, not until 1968 that one of his works was accepted for publication, which marked a series of successes culminating in 1976 with the publication of his first volume of short stories, Spit Delaney´s Island, which "did for the people of Vancouver Island what...William Faulkner [did]for the American South"(The Montreal Gazette). His first novel, The Invention of the World, was published just a year later and led him to accept a one year writer-in-residence position at Simon Fraser University.

The publication of The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne in 1979 marked a turning point in Jack Hodgins´ career and confirmed him as one of the most important new Canadian writers of the 1970s. After taking a one-year leave from his job as a teacher, he moved with his family to Ottawa. Then, The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne won the 1979 Governor General´s Literary Award for English Language Fiction. This success led Hodgins to devote himself to writing full-time.

In 1980, he and his family moved back to British Columbia, where he resigned from his teaching position in Nanaimo and finished The Barclay Family Theatre, a new collection of short stories that returned to the characters of the Barclay sisters introduced in Spit Delaney´s Island. In 1981, the family moved back to Ottawa, where Hodgins took on a position as a creative writing instructor and writer-in-residence. His next publication was a collection of excerpts from unpublished and unfinished works entitled Beginnings: Samplings from a long apprenticeship: novels which were imagined, written, rewritten, submitted.(1983). Later that year, he accepted a full-time position as a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Victoria. This decision allowed him and his family to return to Vancouver Island.

Since Hodgins´ return to the West coast, his writing has moved to a few new directions: he has written a successful guide to writing fiction entitled A Passion for Narrative (1994), which established itself as a major work among those interested in the craft of writing. The children´s book Left Behind in Squabble Bay was published in 1988, and Over Forty in Broken Hill, a book about Hodgins´ own travel experiences in Australia, was published in 1992. He also published three novels during that time: The Honorary Patron (1987), Innocent Cities (1990) and The Macken Charm (1995), the latter of which marks a return to the characters and themes of his earlier works. Hodgins´ most recent novel, Broken Ground(1998), is set in 1922 on a Vancouver Island soldiers´ settlement and tells about the lives of the people and soldiers who are unable to escape the haunting memories of their experiences overseas.

AWARDS:

        Eaton´s BC Book Award, 1977
        Gibson´s First Novel Award. 1978
        Governor General´s Award for Fiction, 1979
        Canada-Australia Prize, 1986
        Commonwealth Literature Prize, regional winner, 1988



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