Dede Crane, a former ballet dancer and choreographer, has written a first novel about a recently retired ballet dancer whose husband and young son are killed in a car accident. In her novel Sympathy (Raincoast, 2006), the protagonist named Kerry is placed within an experimental clinic for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder victims. Among the lost souls of the clinic, the catatonic Kerry becomes a catalyst for Dr. Michael Myatt to uncover his own repressed childhood trauma. [See review below]

Crane's first young adult novel, The 25 Pains of Kennedy Baines (Raincoast 2006), features a fifteen-year-old protagonist who has an annoying sister, a disappointing boyfriend, irresponsible friends and a mother who might be having an affair. Kennedy takes comfort from her favourite novel, Pride and Prejudice, while making a list of her 25 main "pains" in life. In this story for older teens, an equivalent character to Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy arrives in the form of a handsome 18-year-old from England who visits as the son of her mother's friend.

Crane's first short story collection, The Cult of Quick Repair (2008), was simultaneously released along with a collection of non-fiction stories, Birth, The Common Miracle (2008), which she has co-edited with Lisa Moore. Having studied Buddhist psychology at the Naropa Institute in Colorado and Psychokinetics at the Body-Mind Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts, she now lives in Victoria with writer Bill Gaston.

Dede Crane's young adult novel Poster Boy (Groundwood $18.95) explores how a dire illness can unravel even the most well-adjusted family. Sixteen-year-old Gray Fallon is blessed with easygoing parents-a university science professor and silkscreen artist-as well as a part-time job at the Cineplex, some good friends and a hot new girlfriend. When his younger sister Maggie is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Gray determines that his mother's silkscreen chemicals may be responsible. His mother has a breakdown; his father gets angry; he quits school and retreats to an organic farm.

Twice shortlisted for Victoria's Butler Prize, Dede Crane has fashioned a suite of stories emanating from the fictional Wright family for Every Happy Family (Coteau 2013). Married parents Jill and Les are beset by normal challenges such as a mother wit Alzheimer's and a cancer diagnosis that Les keeps secret. Life must plod on. An adopted daughter explores her roots; eldest son Quinn combats shyness; younger son Beau copes with boarding school. A family grows.


Sympathy (Raincoast, 2006)
The 25 Pains of Kennedy Baines (Raincoast 2006). $11.95 1-55192-979-1
The Cult of Quick Repair (Coteau 2008) $18.95 978-1-55050-392-0
Birth, The Common Miracle (2008)
Poster Boy (Groundwood 2009). $18.95 978-0-88899-861-3
Every Happy Family (Coteau 2013) $18.95 9781550505481

[BCBW 2013] "Fiction"