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Betsy Warland

Betsy Warland

Betsy Warland is the author of a dozen books of poetry, creative nonfiction, and lyric prose. She is most widely known for her best-selling collection of essays, Breathing the Page: Reading the Act of Writing. Her most recent book, Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas, was one of two books chosen to launch the Caitlin Press imprint Dagger Editions, dedicated to books about and by queer women. Reviews in the U.S., Germany, Iceland, and Canada called it “an achievement,” “a roman à clef,” “truly luminous,” and a “tour de force.” Born in Iowa, Warland immigrated to Canada in 1972 and became an important figure in the feminist writing scene in Toronto, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, founding writers’ collectives and organizing numerous conferences and events. In her more than 30 years as a creative writing teacher, editor, and manuscript consultant, Warland has been dedicated to emerging and marginalized writers. She designed the Writer’s Studio program at Simon Fraser University in 2001 and served as its director until 2012. During that time, she initiated the annual Downtown Eastside Writers’ Jamboree at the Carnegie Centre, which spawned the ongoing and highly successful Thursdays Writing Collective. Between 2012 and 2017 Warland curated a new online publishing template called Oscar’s Salon, which featured excerpts from Oscar of Between combined with the work of guest writers, artists, and composers, as well as readers’ comments. Warland is the director of the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive program, which she founded in 2007, and has led workshops in the UK at the Poetry School (London), the Poetry Library (London), and the Arvon Foundation (Devon) and in Canada at Sage Hill, Booming Ground (UBC), the Metchosin International School of the Arts, and Simon Fraser University, among others. Her focus on and support of writers of different cultures, races, countries of origin, educations, genders, and sexual identities has opened doors for numerous award-winning authors.

Creative nonfiction, poetry, nonfiction, experimental prose (short and long form,) essays, blended genres, book length narratives
I write professionally in the following language(s):


Bloodroot: Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss, Second Edition. 2021, Inanna Publications/York University
Lost Lagoon/Lost in Thought . 2020, Caitlin Press
Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas. 2016, Caitlin Press
Breathing the Page: Reading the Act of Writing. 2010, Cormorant Books
Only This Blue: A Long Poem with an Essay. 2005, Mercury Press
Bloodroot: Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss. 2000, Second Story Press
What Holds Us Here. 1998, Buschek Books
Two Women in a Birth (with Daphne Marlatt). 1994, Guernica Editions
The Bat Had Blue Eyes. 1993, Women's Press
InVersions: Writing by Dykes, Queers and Lesbians (editor). 1991, Press Gang
Telling It: Women and Language across Cultures (co-editor). 1990, Press Gang
Proper Deafinitions: Collected Theorograms. 1990, Press Gang
Double Negative (with Daphne Marlatt). 1988, gynergy books/Ragweed Press
serpent (w)rite . 1987, Coach House Press
open is broken. 1984, Longspoon Press
A Gathering Instinct. 1981, Williams-Wallace


Professional Honour: VMI Betsy Warland Between Genres Award, Initiated in 2021 by the Directors of VMI
The Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Literary Arts, 2016
The Pandora’s Literary Festival BC Writer Mentor Award, 2011
Eligible for National Public Readings Program: