Winner! 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence
Brian Brett was born in Vancouver and studied literature at SFU. Writing and publishing since the late 1960s, he has been involved in an editorial capacity with several publishing firms such as the Governor General Award-winning Blackfish Press, which he co-owned. In the early 1970s, he began writing for numerous magazines and newspapers, including the Vancouver Province, where he was poetry critic for two years. His journalism has appeared in almost every major newspaper in Canada. He wrote a weekly and then monthly column, “CultureWatch,” for the Yukon News for more than a decade.
Always a cultural and social advocate, Brian Brett inaugurated the BC Poetry-In-The-Schools program, introducing all ages of school children to world poetry, and has given workshops on writing across Canada. He has been a member of organizations such as PEN International, the League of Canadian Poets, The Federation of BC Writers, and The Writers’ Union of Canada. The author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, memoir/natural history, and a CD, he has also performed readings on the CBC, television, the Internet, and various other media, as well as public performances funded by private organizations, universities, Harbourfront, the Vancouver International Writers Festival, The Saltwater Festival, the National Book Festival, and The Canada Council. He has also organized two writing festivals as well as special events for other festivals.
Elected chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada in 2005, Brian Brett promoted the rights of writers and Canadian culture, combating censorship, and supporting local bookstores and the publishing industry. Since 2006 he has been teaching students around the world via UBC’s innovative online Master’s Degree program in creative writing. He is the winner of numerous awards, including The Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the CBC poetry prize, the BC Book Prize (Booksellers’ Choice), etc.
Brian Brett’s Uproar’s Your Only Music (A Memoir in Poetry and Prose) was a Globe and Mail Book of the Year. He currently lives with his family on a Salt Spring Island farm and works with farm organizations and cultural thinkers across Canada as a strong exponent of local food and good agricultural practice, which culminated in his best-selling and award-winning book, Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life.
2012 Jury: George Bowering, novelist, poet, editor, professor, and historian; Max Wyman, writer, critic, editor, cultural commentator, and arts policy consultant; and, Evelyn Gillespie, Owner, Laughing Oyster Books, Courtenay, BC.