DICKINSON, Don




Author Tags: Fiction

Born December 28, 1947 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Dickinson moved to Vancouver in 1977. A high school teacher in Lillooet, he won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 1991 for Blue Husbands and it was also nominated for the Governor General’s Award. His first novel The Crew reprises one of his characters, Mike Kozicki, who contends with prostrate trouble, an estranged daughter, an ex-girlfriend and a strike that prevents his landscaping crew from working.

Books:

Third Impressions (Oberon, 1982) [Co-author]
Fighting the Upstream (Oberon, 1987)
Blue Husbands (Porcupine’s Quill, 1991)
The Crew (Couteau Books, 1993)

[BCBW 2003] "Fiction"

Robbiestime (HarperFlamingo $32)
Essay



“A few years ago, I was at a Remembrance Day service in the gym at the local high school where I teach. When O Canada quavered out over the PA system a crowd of senior boys on the back bleachers jokingly raised their right arms in a mock Nazi salute. I got mad. Later when I had them cornered in an English 12 classroom, I harangued them with the usual sermon about war, sacrifice, respect and death. They were bewildered.

“My grand moralizations fell not so much on deaf ears as on ignorant ones. My parents’ war and its significance to me was to them a joke without a punchline. Oh, they listened, subdued, but uncomprehending. Not until I acted out how I discovered my dad’s war wound did they take notice.

“Then—and over the years since—they asked me questions not only about ‘the war’, but about my growing up in its aftermath. What was it like when I was a kid? What did the war have to do with anything? So I told them stories, and with their questions came my own. How does a simple anecdote grow into a novel? Can it reach beyond itself to chronicle a time? Why is that time important? To find out I had to ask Robbie, and he told me his story.” 0-00-225509-X

[BCBW AUTUMN 2000]