Eight Concordia students from the MA program in creative writing
current students, recent graduates, or students who have recently taken
graduate courses in the program recently received writing grants
from the Canada Council for the Arts. These grants are notoriously difficult
to obtain, according to those in the know.
Oana Avasilichioaei has just finished her masters in English
and creative writing. She wrote a book of poetry for her thesis called
Abandon, and her Canada Council grant will be for her next poetry project.
Oana was born in Romania, and came to Canada when she was 10. She lived
in Vancouver for about 13 years, took her undergrad degree there, and
moved to Montreal three years ago. We contacted her by e-mail.
Ive been published in a few places such as Prism International,
Matrix, The Antigonish Review, The Vancouver Sun and Running With
Scissors (an anthology by Cumulus Press), though I havent had
a book published yet.
Besides poetry, Ive also done translation, mainly of a Romanian
poet named Nichita Stanescu. In 2000 I put out a chapbook of his work
with ITP Press entitled Occupational Sickness. I have also written
Susan Gillis came to Montreal in 1998 to teach English as a second
language, and will graduate with her masters in English and creative
writing in June.
Her first book of poetry was Swimming Among the Ruins, published
by Signature Editions. It evoked the submerged foundations of a
ruined city, place names that recall the past, ancient statuary, a drop
of water echoing in an empty tomb, personal memories, heat left on a path
walked by generations.
Susan added by e-mail, The grant means Ill be able to turn
my full attention to the project Im working on over the summer,
instead of worrying about what to do after graduation.
Francesca LoDico e-mailed CTR from Banff, saying Its
been a tremendous couple of months! Along with fellow Concordia
grant recipient Sarah Venart, she has the use of a Banff Writing
Studio that puts her in touch with stars like Bonnie Bernard (author of
A Good House, winner of the 1999 Giller Prize) and Elizabeth Hay
(A Student of Weather, winner of the Governor-Generals Award).
Im working on a memoir about growing up in Sicily and a collection
of food essays, LoDico wrote. I also work as a book editor
and a freelance food and travel writer. I recently had features in Saturday
Post and enRoute magazine.
Im also developing a television food show, and Im writing
the guidebook Secret Montreal and the chapter on dining for another
The other recipients of Canada Council awards from Concordia are Julia
Gedeon-Matusky, whose voice is well known to local CBC radio listeners,
Dana Bath, Suki Lee and Lance Blomgren.