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Gary Geddes

Gary Geddes

Photo: Danielle Schaub

Gary Geddes was born in Vancouver, B.C. in 1940. He completed a doctorate at University of Toronto and has taught at various institutions in Canada and abroad, including Western Washington University, where he was Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture. Geddes has written and edited fifty books of poetry, fiction, drama, translation, criticism, non-fiction, and anthologies and won a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Lt.-Governor's Award for Literary Excellence and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from the government of Chile, awarded simultaneously to Octavio Paz, Vaclav Havel, Ernesto Cardenal, Rafael Alberti and Mario Benedetti. In addition to editing several major teaching anthologies for Oxford, he was the founding editor of Studies in Canadian Literature, Quadrant Editions and Cormorant Books. He served as a writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, University of Ottawa, Green College (UBC), Vancouver Island University, Vancouver Public Library and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Best known as a poet, Geddes has recently produced four books of acclaimed non-fiction: Sailing Home, Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things, Drink the Bitter Root and Medicine Unbundled: A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care. His most recent publications are The Resumption of Play (poetry) and The Ventriloquist: Four Poetic Narratives from the Womb of War. He is at work on a play called Norwegian Rabbit about Trotsky on the morning of his assassination in Mexico City, and on a memoir and long poem. He lives on Thetis Island with his wife, novelist Ann Eriksson.

Thetis Island
British Columbia


Sailing Home: A Journey Through Time, Place and Memory. HarperCollins, 2002
Skaldance. Goose Lane Editions, 2001
Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things: An Impossible Journey from Kabul to Chiapas. HarperCollins, 2004
Falsework. Goose Lane Editions, 2007
Drink the Bitter Root: A Search for Justice and Healing in Africa. Douglas & McIntyre, 2010
What Does A House Want: Selected Poems. Red Hen Press, 2014
The Resumption of Play. Quattro Books, 2016
Medicine Unbundled: A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care. Heritage House, 2017


Gabriela Mistral Prize from the Government of Chile, 1996.
Poetry Book Society Recommendation, UK for Active Trading, 1996.
National Magazine Gold Award for Hong Kong, 1987.
America's Best Book Award, Commonwealth Poetry Competition for The Terracotta Army, 1985.
National Poetry Prize for "The Acid Test", 1981.
Lt-Governor's Award for Literary Excellence (B.C.), 2008
Honorary Doctor of Laws, Royal Roads University, 2007
Freedom to Read Award (TWUC), 2018
Eligible for National Public Readings Program: