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Stuart Ross

Photo: Laurie Siblock 2018

STUART ROSS is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Harbourfront Festival Prize. He is a Cobourg-based fiction writer, poet, editor, translator, and creative-writing instructor. He has been active in the Toronto literary scene since the mid-1970s. In 1987, he co-founded, with Nicholas Power, the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, and was co-coordinator of the fair for its first three years. In 2008, he became a founding member of the Meet the Presses collective, which puts on the annual Indie Literary Market and administers the bpNichol Chapbook Award.

Stuart is the author of twelve full poetry collections, most recently 70 Kippers: The Dagmar Poems (w/ Michael Dennis; Proper Tales Press, 2020); Motel of the Opposable Thumbs (ECW Press, 2019); A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak and Wynn, 2016), winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry; A Hamburger in a Gallery (DC Books, 2015); Our Days in Vaudeville (Mansfield Press, 2013), for which he collaborated with 29 other Canadian poets; and You Exist. Details Follow. (Anvil Press, 2012), which won the sole award given to an Anglo writer in 2013 by l'Académie de la vie littéraire au tournant du 21ême siècle.

Stuart is also the author of five novels, including Pockets (ECW Press, 2017) and Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew (ECW Press, 2012), co-winner of the Montreal Jewish Library's Award for Fiction on a Jewish Theme, and two story collections — Henry Kafka and Other Stories (The Mercury Press, 1997) and the Relit Award-winning Buying Cigarettes for the Dog (Freehand Books, 2009) — as well as two collaborative novels and two books of personal essays, Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer (Anvil Press, 2005) and Further Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer (Anvil Press, 2015).

He is editor of the anthology Surreal Estate: 13 Canadian Poets Under the Influence (The Mercury Press, 2004) and co-editor of Rogue Stimulus: The Stephen Harper Holiday Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament (Mansfield Press, 2012), and has edited several literary magazines, most recently Peter O’Toole: The Journal of One-Line Poems and HARDSCRABBLE. He was the Fiction & Poetry Editor for This Magazine for eight years and had his own imprint, "a stuart ross book," at Mansfield Press for a decade. He currently has an imprint, A Feed Dog Book, for surrealist poetry at Anvil Press.

Stuart’s work has appeared in scores of journals here and in the U.S., including Event, Malahat ReviewHarper’s, The Walrus, This Magazine, Geist, Rampike, Canadian Forum, Jubilat, Gargoyle, West Coast Line, illiteratureArc, Stone the Crows!, Fell SwoopThe Capilano Review, Matrix, Bomb Threat Checklist, sub-Terrain, and Taddle Creek, as well as several anthologies and textbooks. He is the author of innumerable chapbooks, from Proper Tales Press, above/ground press, Happy Monks Press, shreeking violet press, BookThug, Nose in Book Publishing, Curvd H&z, Pink Dog Press, Apt. 9, The Front Press, Puddles of Sky Press, and more. His column "Hunkamooga," which appeared regularly in sub-Terrain until 2012, was nominated for a National Magazine Award and a BC Magazine Award and was praised by the New York Times Book Review blog.

Stuart has frequently collaborated with musicians in live performance and on recordings. In 2008, singer-songwriter Ben Walker adapted 15 of Stuart's poems as pop songs; the results appear on the CD An Orphan's Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross. In 2014, Stuart became the voice component of the noise trio Donkey Lopez. In 2006 and 2015, Nova Scotia choreographer Lisa Phinney created dance pieces based on Stuart's poems.

Stuart has given readings at hundreds of venues in Canada, the U.S., Slovenia, England, Chile, and Nicaragua. He has appeared widely at festivals, including the Vilenica International Literary Festival (Slovenia), the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, the Banff-Calgary WordFest, the Ottawa Folk Festival, the Ashkenaz Festival of Yiddish Culture (Toronto), MayWorks (Toronto), Scream in High Park (Toronto), the Vancouver Jewish Book Fair, the West Coast Poetry Festival (Vancouver), Hillside Festival (Guelph), BookFestWindsor, Poetry on the Rocks (Kimberley, BC), Luminato (Toronto), the Lucerne Writers Festival (New Denver, BC), Words in Whitby, and Rage on ’24th (Edmonton).

His work has been translated into Russian, French, Slovene, Nynorsk, Spanish, and Estonian.

Stuart has led poetry and fiction workshops for adults and teens and has taught several professional-level editing workshops. He has taught writing at the elementary and high school levels across the country, and has conducted his one-day intensive Poetry Boot Camps in Vancouver, Pickering, Toronto, Oakville, Ottawa, Nelson, New Denver, St. Albert, and Banff.

In January 2006, Stuart led a two-week poetry workshop at the Los Parronales Writing Retreat in Chile. He was also invited by the Chilean Ministry of Education to address Chilean English teachers, at the 2006 English Summer Town in Santiago, on using poetry as a language-teaching tool.

Stuart was the 2002 Writer in Residence for the Writers’ Circle of Durham Region, the 2003 Poet in Residence for the Ottawa International Writers' Festival, and the 2005 Electronic Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library’s youth website. In 2010, Stuart was Writer-in-Residence at Queen's University.

He is the winter 2020 Writer-in-Residence at University of Ottawa, where he will be teaching a fourth-year creative writing course he has created: Blowing Up Fiction.

Stuart regularly gives talks to teachers, librarians, writers, students, and others on the small press movement, self-publishing, his writing life (now with exciting PowerPoint presentation!), nurturing creativity in non-writers, and other topics. 

One more thing: he will do a reading in your living room. Contact him for details.

Phone number:
Please email.


70 Kippers: The Dagmar Poems (co-author: Michael Dennis). Proper Tales Press, 2020
Motel of the Opposable Thumbs. Anvil Press, 2019
Pockets. ECW Press, 2017
A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent. Wolsak and Wynn, 2016
Further Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer. Anvil Press, 2015
A Hamburger in a Gallery. DC Books, 2015
My Planet of Kites, by Marie-Ève Comtois. Translated by Stuart Ross & Michelle Winters; Mansfield Press, 2015
Our Days in Vaudeville. Mansfield Press, 2013
Rogue Stimulus: The Stephen Harper Holiday Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament. Editor, with Stephen Brockwell; Mansfield Press, 2012
Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew. ECW Press, 2011
Buying Cigarettes for the Dog. Freehand Books, 2009
An Orphan's Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross. CD. Peak Recordings/Proper Tales, 2008
Dead Cars in Managua. DC Books, 2008
I Cut My Finger. Anvil Press, 2007
Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer. Anvil Press, 2005
Surreal Estate: 13 Canadian Poets Under the Influence. Editor; The Mercury Press, 2004
Hey, Crumbling Balcony! Poems New & Selected. ECW Press, 2003
Razovsky at Peace. ECW Press, 2001
Farmer Gloomy's New Hybrid. ECW Press, 1999
Henry Kafka and Other Stories. The Mercury Press, 1997
The Inspiration Cha-Cha. ECW Press, 1996
The Mud Game. With Gary Barwin. The Mercury Press, 1995
The Pig Sleeps. With Mark Laba. Contra Mundo Books, 1991


Winner: Harbourfront Festival Prize for For contribution to Canadian literature, 2019
Winner: Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry for A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, 2016
Shortlisted: Relit Award for Poetry for Our Days in Vaudeville, 2014
Winner: L'académie de la vie Littéraire au tournant du 21ême siecle: Exist Through the Giftshop Award for You Exist. Details Follow., 2013
Winner: Mona Elaine Adilman Award for Fiction & Poetry on a Jewish Theme for Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew, 2012
Shortlisted: Alberta Readers’ Choice Award for Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, 2011
Shortlisted: Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award for Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, 2011
Winner: Relit Award for Short Fiction for Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, 2010
Shortlisted: Relit Award for Poetry for Dead Cars in Managua, 2008
Shortlisted: Relit Award for Poetry for I Cut My Finger, 2007
Shortlisted: Trillium Book Award for Farmer Gloomy's New Hybrid, 2000
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

I offer readings, talks on publishing and my life in the literary underground, and writing workshops.

Presentation Length:
Poetry, Fiction
Audience size:
Workshop Description:

My workshops are tailored to the needs of the host school, but the primary emphasis is on introducing students to a wide range of pleasurable, challenging writing strategies.

Northern OAC WITS:
GST not applicable