Merilyn Simonds is the author of 17 books. She writes both fiction and creative nonfiction, and frequently explores the zone where the two genres meet. Her novel, The Holding, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her nonfiction novel, The Convict Lover, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and has since become a Canadian creative nonfiction classic. A 20th anniversary edition was released in 2017, and a Bookmark Canada plaque was installed in Kingston to honour its place in the Canadian literary landscape.
Merilyn’s work has been anthologized and published internationally in eight countries. Her most recent releases are A New Leaf: Growing with my Garden, a collection of personal essays; The Paradise Project, a collection of flash fiction hand-printed on a 19th-century press with endpapers made in part from plants from her garden; and a memoir/essay about the making of that book and her life in books, Gutenberg’s Fingerprint: Paper, Pixels, and the Lasting Impression of Books. Her novel Refuge is forthcoming in 2018.
Merilyn has taught creative writing at UBC, Kwantlen University, University of Saskatchewan and has led scores of workshops across Canada and in Mexico. She has been writer-in-residence at UBC and in Whistler. She has mentored writers at every stage of manuscript development, from first draft to contract. As well as manuscript evaluation and consulting, she offers a book-coached writing retreat in Mexico, January to March.
She is Founding Artistic Director of Kingston WritersFest, a literary festival in eastern Ontario, and consults on programming for the San Miguel de Allende Creative Crossroads Festival. She was 2012-13 Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and currently sits on the McGill-Queen’s Press Board of Directors. She writes a bimonthly books column for the Kingston Whig-Standard.