MORRISON, Will




Will Morrison of Burnaby was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on May 26, 1933. He has published a collection of autobiographical short stories set in working-class Belfast and its shipyards, from 1939-1951. He began to work in Belfast shipyards (Harland and Wolff)in 1947 at the age of 14 years; and he served a 5-year joinery apprenticeship in the shipyard. He gained a matriculation at Trinity College, Dublin, through private study, and the aid of a 80-year-old tutor in Latin, a retired grammar school teacher. "The Latin tag he pounded into my head was Festina lente - make haste slowly - and it fairly well sums up the trajectory of my life," he says.

Morrison was also educated at Magee University College, Londonderry, and at McGill University (M.A.) after his arrival in Canada in 1960. He served as a United Church minister for 13 years, then taught philosophy and literature for 22 years at College of the Rockies, Cranbrook, B.C. He retired from teaching in 1997. His memoir was shortlisted for a prestigious U.K/Ireland literary prize in conjunction with the Irish Writers Association. The shortlist consisted of three books by U.K. journalists, two by Oxford academics, and his. The winner, a book on John Donne by a young Oxford academic, received $80,000. "I knew my book was a long shot," Morrison says, "going up against journalists writing about China, Iraq, and Islam, and going up against three Penguin books and 1 from Chatto & Windus, 1 from Bloomsbury, but I was delighted to be shortlisted by the Irish and U.K. judges. It was like losing the big game but knowing you played your heart out and have nothing to be ashamed of. And it sends you back out to the field for another kick at the ball."

BOOKS:

Between the Mountains and the Gantries (Belfast: Appletree Press, Belfast, N.I. 2006)

AWARDS: Short list: 2007 Glen Dimplex New Writers Award, in association with the Dublin Writers' Center

[BCBW 2008] "Irish"