More About the Author
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1949, Merilyn Simonds spent her childhood in Brazil and was educated at the University of Western Ontario. As an award-winning freelance journalist, she published nine nonfiction books and scores of magazine articles on subjects ranging from the environment to soap-making, from art and architecture to war. From 1987 -1991 she was an associate editor at Harrowsmith Magazine and has been a contributing editor at Harrowsmith, Equinox, Canadian Geographic and Saturday Night Magazines.
With the release of The Convict Lover, published by Macfarlane, Walter & Ross in 1996, Simonds became nationally known as a literary writer, exploring the zone where fact and fiction meet. The Convict Lover was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction and was chosen as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 1996 by the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire Magazine, Elm Street Magazine and Maclean's. It was translated into Chinese, Japanese, and German, and in 1997, was adapted for the stage by the Kingston Summer Theatre Festival, premiering at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto in the fall of 1998. It is now considered a classic in Canadian creative nonfiction.
The Lion in the Room Next Door, Simonds's collection of linked, autobiographical stories, was published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart in 1999 to enthusiastic reviews and like The Convict Lover, became a national bestseller. The following year, it was published by Bloomsbury in England, by G.P. Putnam's Sons in the United States and by btb in Germany.
The Holding, published as McClelland & Stewart's lead fiction title in the spring of 2004, is Simonds's first novel. On the Canadian Booksellers' Association bestseller list for five months, it received unanimously favourable reviews. In the fall of 2005 it was published in the United States, where it was reviewed enthusiastically in the New York Times and later selected as an "Editor's Choice." The novel was published in Germany in 2007.
In 2005, her short story "Miss You Already" was published in Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada, where it was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Her short fiction has been anthologized internationally and was recently included in a special issue of Journal of the Americas on Canadian literature and art. She has edited two anthologies: A Literary Companion to Gardens (2008) and A Literary Companion to the Night (2009). In the fall of 2006, she was writer-in-residence at Green College, University of British Columbia, where she taught online courses for Booming Ground, the noncredit division of UBC's Creative Writing Programme. She also teaches creative writing at Kwantlen University and privately mentors writers working on both fiction and creative nonfiction projects. In 2009 she was writer in residence in Banff Alberta.
She is currently working on a collection of short fiction titled The Paradise Project as well as a novel, C and a travel memoir she is co-writing with Wayne Grady, Breakfast at the Exit Café: Travels in America. On the first day of spring 2009, she launched her website, frugalistagardener.com, wher she posts a weekly literary essay drawn from her garden at The Leaf.
Merilyn Simonds lives with writer and translator Wayne Grady on a small acreage north of Kingston, Ontario.