Born in Vancouver in 1954, Linda Svendsen has lived in New York and published fiction in the The Atlantic, Saturday Night, O. Henry Prize Stories, Best Canadian Stories and The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. She won first prize in the 1980 American Short Story Contest.

Marine Life, published simultaneously in the U.S. and Canada in 1992, and later in Germany, is a Vancouver-based collection of connected stories about a lower-middle class family. It was nominated for the LA Times First Book Award and later adapted for the screen by Lori Lansen as a feature film.

Her first novel, Sussex Drive (2012), is a political satire set in Ottawa in 2008, in which two powerful women compete for behind-the-scenes influence when they're not driving their kids to school. It's a battle of wits between the "cagey but kind" Quebecois Governor-General Lise Lavoie and the "politically savvy, uber-reliable wife of the autocratic Conservative PM," Becky Leggatt as to who can best influence Canada's foreign policies.

Svendsen returned to Vancouver in 1989 to teach creative writing at UBC where she edited Words We Call Home, an anthology that celebrates the silver anniversary of Canada's first accredited Creative Writing department.

Also a screenwriter, she adapted The Diviners by Margaret Laurence for a two-hour CBC movie and received a 2004 Gemini Award for co-writing the mini-series Human Cargo, a CBC production about social upheaval in Africa and an Afghan woman who has been smuggled into Canada, post 9/11. Human Cargo, which garnered 7 Gemini Awards and a George Foster Peabody Award. Another television project was At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story. Having become the Chair of the UBC Creative Department, she received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 to develop Immunity, a mini-series about the global AIDS crisis. She has also been a Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute and a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.


Writing at UBC, edited by Linda Svendsen (UBC Press, 1990)
Marine Life (Giroux, 1992)
Write Turns: New Directions in Canadian Fiction, edited by Linda Svendsen, Alison Acheson (Raincoast, 2002)
Words We Call Home: Celebrating Creative
Sussex Drive (Random House 2012) 978-0-307-36221-6 $22

[BCBW 2016] "Fiction" "Film" "Movie"