Born in Germany of stateless parents, Mary Tilberg was raised in Tangier, Morocco and Liberia, West Africa. She immigrated with her family to Canada in 1965 and became a citizen in 1979. She has lived lived in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, giving birth to a child in each province. After years away from B.C., she returned and settled in the Powell River region. Tilberg writes fiction as well as poetry, with several short stories published in Canadian journals.

Her novel Oonagh is the story of a young Irish immigrant named Oonagh Corcoran and a fugitive American slave named Chauncey Taylor who meet in Ontario, in 1833, fall in love, and discover that the acceptance of a small community is not unconditional. Promotional material states: "In 1831, eighteen-year-old Oonagh Corcoran emigrates with her sister from southern Ireland to Upper Canada. In the deep folds of cool, green forest off the vast inland sea of Lake Ontario, she believes she has found paradise - only to discover that the New World harbours its own horrible injustices when she meets a fugitive slave from Virginia named Chauncey Taylor. Love grows between them as Chauncey slowly reveals his terrible past to Oonagh, reliving the pain and tragedy he and his family suffered as slaves. The two find that even in their small, accepting community, there are certain lines that can never be crossed."

DATE OF BIRTH: January 16, 1952

PLACE OF BIRTH: Bad Canstatt, Germany


EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: retired teacher/farmer

AWARDS: York University President's Prize for Poetry, 1991


Oonagh (Cormorant, 2008) $21 978-1-897151-18-1
The Moon Knows No Boundary (Guernica, 2004)

[BCBW 2008] "Poetry" "Fiction"