Amanda Hale received her M.A. in Creative Writing from Concordia University in 1976. She worked in theatre and visual arts in Toronto during the 1980s. Her first novel, Sounding the Blood, is about a whaling station at Rose Harbour in the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1915. Including a distraught wife and an opium addict, it's the story of five people living on the southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands. It was optioned for a feature film and included on some reading lists for Canlit courses.

In her novel The Reddening Path (Thistledown, 2007), Pamela, a Guatemalan adoptee raised in Toronto, returns to Guatemala to search for her Mayan birth mother. The Spanish conquest weaves throughout the narrative, colouring the lives of everyone Pamela encounters in her birthland. In particular, Hale re-imagines the love affair between the Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortes and his translator, Malinche, a woman often unfairly maligned as a traitor to her people. Christened Marina by the Spaniards, she learned Spanish, became his mistress and bore him a son. To this day, the derogatory word malinchista is applied to a Mexican who apes the language and customs of another country, but Hale re-examines Malinche's bi-culturalism as a distant mirror for the complex bi-cultural path that Pamela is required to walk.

Described as both scientific and spiritual, Amanda Hale's My Sweet Curiosity (Thistledown $19.95) is another bold, cross-continental attempt from the Hornby Islander to connect individuals from different centuries. Hale combines the life and times of 16th century anatomist Andreas Vesalius with the amniotic memories of University of Toronto medical student Natalya Kulikovsky. In this brave novel that is literally about soul-searching, Kulikovsky simultaneously falls in love with a talented cellist named Dai Ling Xiang. The modern-day protagonist was born only after her mother had five miscarriages and was diagnosed with a hostile womb. Kulikovsky was flushed from the womb three days after fertilization and plopped into a test tube. 978-1-897235-61-4

Amanda Hale's Angela of the Stones (Thistledown 2018) is her second collection of stories linked to the Cuban village of Baracoa, sometimes described as the second European settlement in the Americas where Christopher Columbus reputedly erected a cross. Hale continues to document the social and political changes as seen in eastern Cuba. One story concerns a right-wing Miami ex-pat, based on an interview she conducted in 2014 at the time when Raul Castro and President Obama shook hands and exchanged prisoners. “All of Cuba is a museum now. We live off our old Revolution,” laments Gertrudis, one in a cast of characters. Godofredo, born in January 1959 as a victorious Fidel marched into Havana, now limps along the streets of Baracoa where he encounters tourists and townspeople while maintaining his anonymity as the peanut vendor. In the Embrace of the Alligator, a first collection of linked fictions set in Cuba, was published in 2011.

CITY/TOWN: Hornby Island, BC

DATE OF BIRTH: August 9/44

PLACE OF BIRTH: England

ARRIVAL IN CANADA: 1968

ARRIVAL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: 1989

EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: Visual Artist, Teacher

AWARDS: Finalist in BC Relit Awards, Top Ten for 2001 - NOW Magazine, Toronto

BOOKS:

Sounding the Blood (Raincoast Books, 2001)
The Reddening Path (Thistledown, 2007)
My Sweet Curioristy (Thistledown Press, 2009)
In the Embrace of the Alligator (Thistledown Press, 2011)
Angela of the Stones (Thistledown Press 2018) $19.95 978-1-77187-165-5

[Gayelle Johnson photo, 2001]

[BCBW 2018] "Fiction" "QCI" "Cuba"