"Strikingly unfashionable." -- Robert Harlow

Buday was the author of several educational books for juveniles, such as Exploring Wildlife in Western Canada, when he drew upon his experiences travelling in Asia to write a first novel, The Venetian (Oolichan, 1987), about Marco Polo and his relationship with Kubla Khan. In it Buday speculates as to how Marco Polo must have reacted to experiencing a different culture. He takes a more prickly and modern perspective in his memoir of travelling alone in India, Golden Goa (ECW Press, 2000), in which he tracks 16th century Portuguese poet Luis Camoens, author of the Lusiads, Portugal's national epic. He has also published a collection of chronological stories with common characters, Monday Night Man (Anvil Press, 1995) and the novels, White Lung (Anvil Press, 1999), A Sack of Teeth (Raincoast, 2002), Rootbound (ECW Press 2006) and Dragonflies (Biblioasis 2008).

Unlike that upbeat single Mom pot-grower in that new TV series, or the pot-cultivating British Properties matron in Douglas Coupland's new comic novel, Buday's 50-year-old bankrupt and paranoid former building contractor turned reluctant pot-grower in Rootbound only goes from bud to worse. As if it isn't hard enough these days with Hydro checking everyone's electricity consumption, poor ol' Willie LeMat, a down-on-his-luck Willie Loman for the entrepreneurial new Millennium, gets his first crop filched and he has no economic alternative but to grow another one and remain ever-fearful it, too, will be poached. His daughter is pregnant by a Burmese monk, his usurious landlord is a conman and his girlfriend paints only self-portraits; meanwhile purblind losers like LeMat, trying to scrape by, are surrounded by real estate speculators making bundles from an Olympics in 2010 that has already gone way over budget. All this would be funny if only it wasn't all-too-plausible.

Never one to shy away from the truth in his fiction, Grant Buday recalls Stalin's systematic starving of two million people in the Ukraine in the 1930s-known as the Holodomor-in his novel about Cyril Andrachuk, the only Canadian-born son of immigrant parents, set in Vancouver in 1962. In The Delusionist (Anvil 2014), Cyril struggles with menial labour jobs during the day but draws incessantly and longs to attend art school. His mother can't imagine why Cyril wants to draw his late-father's tools-saws, drills, hammers, wrenches-and questions his sanity when he begins a series of large, commemorative "Stalin stamps"; amid growing family distress. For anyone puzzled about the current headlines involving Russia and Ukraine, this darkly comic novel is a potent reminder why few people can never escape from history, even at the western edge of European migration. [See Review Below]

Critically well-received, but too downbeat to be trendy, Buday won the 2006 Fiddlehead Magazine short fiction contest since he relocated from Vancouver to Mayne Island.

Now you see it, now you don't. In 2016, Grant Buday was announced as the winner of Mona Fertig's 3rd annual Great BC Novel Contest for a manuscript called Atomic Road only to have the award strangely revoked by Fertig "because of a dispute over appropriate authorship attribution." No replacement winner was announced. The 3rd Great BC Novel Contest had 56 manuscript submissions and three finalists were announced November 24, 2015. The winner was announced on March 4th, 2016.

In Orphans of Empire (Brindle and Glass 2020), Buday returns to historical fiction with three stories set in the last half of the 19th century that intertwine at the site of the New Brighton Hotel on Burrard Inlet. Buday's characters are not historical heroes, rather he celebrates the lives of those who live in the shadows of the extraordinary.


Orphans of Empire (TouchWood $22)

Mayne Island author, Grant Buday has turned his social critic’s eye on the early settler days of Vancouver in Orphans of Empire (TouchWood $22), in which he brings to life three characters whose lives converge at the site of the historic New Brighton Hotel in the late 1880s. Having grown up and spent his early adult years in East Vancouver, Buday says he frequented New Brighton Park (the site of the long-gone hotel), swam in its pool and walked past the park toward the Alberta Wheat Pool. Buday imagines to life Colonel Richard Moody, whom the British government sent to found British Columbia (and establish a ‘second England’). “Great things are expected of you,” a fellow traveller taunts Moody. The second character introduced is Frisadie, a Hawaiian who arrives in Victoria at the age of seven after her father dies on the voyage leaving her and her mother destitute. Frisadie grows up and buys the New Brighton Hotel, making it the toast of the settlement. And finally, there’s Henry Fannin, orphaned in London, England but makes his way to New Brighton where he becomes an embalmer and finds happiness. 9781927366899 [BCBW 2021]


See reviews of various Buday books below.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Stranger on a Strange Island: From Main Street to Mayne Island


The Venetian (Oolichan, 1987)
Monday Night Man (Anvil Press, 1995)
White Lung (Anvil Press, 1999)
Golden Goa (ECW Press, 2000)
A Sack of Teeth (Raincoast, 2002)
Rootbound (ECW 2006) $26.95 1-55022-748-3.
Dragonflies (Biblioasis 2008) $19.95 978-1-897231-47-0
Stranger on a Strange Island (New Star Books 2011) 9781554200573 $19.00
The Delusionist (Anvil 2014)$20 978-1-927380-93-2
Orphans of Empire (Brindle and Glass 2020) $22 978-1-92736-689-9

[BCBW 2020] "Fiction"