Author Tags: Fiction

Lisa Grekul grew up in St. Paul, Alberta with a Ukrainian heritage. Having worked as a musician and attended school in Swaziland, she has received a creative writing award from the University of Alberta and a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In 2003, she began teaching in the English department of the University of British Columbia, later moving to Kelowna in 2005 to teach Canadian literature at UBC's Okanagan campus. Her novel Kalyna's Song was shortlisted for the in Canada Best First Book Award. In her collection of essays, Leaving Shadows, Grekul has examined the unfolding of English-language Ukrainian Canadian writing with emphasis on Maara Haas, Janice Kulyk Keefer, Myrna Kostash, Vera Lysenko, George Ryga and Andrew Suknaski.


Leaving Shadows (University of Alberta Press, 2006).
Kalyna's Song (Coteau, 2004)
Leaving Shadows: Literature in English by Canada's Ukrainians (University of Alberta Press, 2005)

[BCBW 2006] "Ukrainian" "Fiction"

Kalyna’s Song (Coteau, 2004)

In Lisa Grekul’s first novel Kalyna’s Song (Coteau, 2004) a gifted young pianist and singer named Colleen Lutzak loses unfairly in a music competition and learns the politics of ethnicity in northern Alberta.

The novel explores the process by which Colleen learns to accept herself as a young Ukrainian Canadian woman and find peace with the loss of friends and family, including her aunt Kalyna, for whom she composes a commemorative song.

Following the death of her beloved piano teacher Sister Maria and an alienating first-year experience at university, Colleen accepts an unexpected academic scholarship to attend a college in Swaziland.

Africa is no easier than Alberta. While overcoming a bitter cultural rivalry with a Polish student, she attempts to befriend a shy, local girl Thaiwende. Another friend of hers commits suicide during her unwanted pregnancy.

Colleen witnesses post-apartheid South Africa first-hand while volunteering at hospitals and is present when celebrations erupt with news of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

Grekul grew up in St. Paul, Alberta, worked as a musician and has attended school in Swaziland. In 2003, she began teaching in the English department of the University of British Columbia.


—by Martin Twigg

[BCBW Summer 2004]

Grekul nominated for Kobzar Award
Press Release (2006)

TORONTO (February 27, 2006) – The winner of the $25,000 Kobzar™ Literary Award will be announced March 2 at a gala ceremony in Toronto attended by The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson and The Hon. Sen. Raynell Andreychuk, both honorary patrons of the award. Masters of Ceremonies for the evening will be actors Joan Karasevich, Fred Keating, Lubomir Mykytiuk and August Schellenberg.

Presented every two years, the Kobzar™ Literary Award recognizes a Canadian writer who best
presents a Ukrainian Canadian theme with literary merit through poetry, play, musical, fiction, non-fiction or young people’s literature.

The $25,000 prize is sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko.

This year’s finalists are: Lisa Grekul, Kelowna, BC, for Kalyna’s Song; Laura Langston, Victoria, BC, for Lesia’s Dream; Danny Schur, of Winnipeg, MB, for Strike!-The Musical, and Larry Warwaruk, of Outlook, SK, for Andrei and the Snow Walker.

The four-member judging panel included: writer Myrna Kostash, actor-director Mieko Ouchi, CBC broadcaster Bill Richardson and journalist-author Antanas Sileika of the Humber School of Writers.