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Jacqueline Dumas

Photo: Nicola Davison

Jacqueline Dumas was born in Castor, Alberta on April 19, 1946. She now lives in Nova Scotia, but she was a participant in Edmonton’s cultural life for many years – as writer, teacher, activist, and independent bookseller. Her creative work includes three published novels, a children’s book, intercultural video scripts, and an ESL workbook. She was the first Coordinator of Borderlines, the Writer-in-Exile Program for the City of Edmonton. She has also taught English for Academic Purposes at Grant MacEwan University and Dalhousie University. Recently she edited the anthology, Writing in the Margins, the culmination of the creative writing workshop for second language writers that she established and facilitated under the auspices of Writers Beyond Borders. Her first novel, Madeleine and the Angel, examines domestic abuse in a claustrophobic family in 1950s franco-Alberta. The novel was a finalist for the Books in Canada best first novel award and winner of the Georges Bugnet Award for best Alberta novel. According to Zsuzsi Gartner of Quill & Quire, the book ranked “right up there with the best of playwright Michel Tremblay for its French Canadian rhythms, range of emotion, and humour.” The Last Sigh, Jacqueline’s second novel, is a mystery that moves between late 15th-century and modern-day Spain while also examining Canadian culture and identity. Quill & Quire stated that the novel established her “as a writer of great imagination and range.” The Heart Begins Here, her third novel, was published in 2018 and was a finalist for the 2019 Golden Crown Literary Society Awards. Set in a feminist bookstore of the late 1990s, the book explores themes of love and loss, of personal and societal homophobia, and of the challenges of integrating the personal with the political. One of Dumas's great joys is to connect writers with their potential readers. Through her two bookshops, Aspen Books and later, Orlando Books, she organized and hosted hundreds of readings and book launches with writers from across the country, and occasionally from outside the country. Jacqueline Dumas’s community involvement and commitment has earned her various awards, including an Award of Merit from the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Albert Britnell Bookseller’s Prize, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, and the YWCA Woman of Distinction for the Arts. Presently she is working on a memoir. Her first play, Secrets, was presented at the 2013 Edmonton Fringe Festival.

City:
Dartmouth
Province:
Nova Scotia
Genre:
Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction
I write professionally in the following language(s):
English

Publications

The Heart Begins Here. 2018, Inanna Publications
The Last Sigh. 1993, Fifth House Publishers
Madeleine and the Angel. 1989, Fifth House Publishers
And I'm Never Coming Back. 1986, Annick Press
Global Focus Workbook: Integrated Skills Through Cultural Events. 2012, Oxford University Press

Awards

Golden Crown Literary Society, Finalist for The Heart Begins Here, 2019
WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel, Finalist for Madeleine and the Angel, 1989
Georges Bugnet Best Novel for Madeleine and the Angel, 1989
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:
Yes

WITS

Are you available for public presentations and/or workshops:
Yes
Genre:
Fiction, Memoir
Grades:
Adult
Audience Size:
Any
Are you available for school visits?:
Yes
Interested in participating in the Union’s Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools program:
Yes
Interested in participating in the Northern Ontario WITS program:
Yes

Equity Initiative

As part of the Union’s Equity Implementation Plan, we are committed to increasing awareness of authors who are Black, Indigenous, racialized, LGBTQI2S, or living with a disability. This author identifies as:

  • LGBTQI2S