Author Tags: Biography, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Sex
Michael V. Smith grew up in the border town of Cornwall, Ontario, studied at Glendon College, York University, and went on to complete his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. He has written, performed and produced a number of videos which tour international film festivals. He has had three plays produced in Toronto. He also performs stand up, improv, audience participation, nudist drag as Miss Cookie LaWhore.
He has written a monthly sex column, Blush, in Vancouver's XtraWest, and freelanced for the Globe & Mail. He has been named one of Vancouver's Most Dangerous People by Loop Magazine and cited by Vancouver magazine as one of the city's most influential gay citizens. As an actor he has appeared in two films by Wayne Yung; Wildflowers and Chopsticks, Bloody Chopsticks.
With his poetry collection, What You Can't Have, a candid examination of sex, sexuality, and the sex trade, Smith was awarded the inaugural Dayne Ogilvie Award for Emerging Gay Writers. He was previously nominated for the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award for his novel Cumberland.
Smith's second novel, Progress (Cormorant, 2011), a widow named Helen has to relocate when a dam is built in her small town, and she learns a family secret when her long-lost brother suddenly reappears. Publisher's synopsis: "In the lonely years following the death of her fiancé, Helen is unable to move on with her life. But life itself is moving on around her — literally: the building of a dam is forcing her small town and her family home — to relocate. But the construction project means more than the loss of a home. Helen’s brother, Robbie, who disappeared without a trace many years earlier, suddenly resurfaces. As he re-enters his sister’s life, he reveals the secret of why he left in the first place: a secret that tore their family apart, and affected Helen’s life in more ways than she ever realized."
Smith’s first non-fiction work, My Body is Yours (Arsenal, 2015), examines his experience growing up as a self-described “sissy” in a working-class family in small town Canada. Feeling inadequate and insecure through to his young-adult years, Smith describes himself as “an obsessive writer-performer, drawn to compulsions of alcohol, sex, reading, spending, work, and art as a means to cope and heal.” The book questions our definitions of men and masculinity, and what it means to be human. It proposes new ways of thinking outside of society’s gender norms, and allows Smith to confront the painful fallout he endured for failing to fit the typical “male” role.
In 2008, Michael V. Smith moved to Kelowna to teach creative writing at UBC in the Okanagan.
DATE OF BIRTH: March 23, 1971
PLACE OF BIRTH: Winchester Ontario
ARRIVAL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: August 1995
Nominated for Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award
Dayne Ogilvie Award for Emerging Gay Writers
Western Magazine Gold Award for Fiction
Nominated for Journey Prize
Two short-film prizes at Toronto's Inside Out Festival
Bad Ideas (Nightwood 2017). $18.95 978-0-88971-326-0 POETRY.
My Body is Yours: A Memoir (Arsenal, 2015) $17.95 9781551525778
Progress (Cormorant, 2011) 978-1-77086-000-1 $21
Body of Text (BookThug 2010), co-written with David Ellingsen. 9781897388280
What You Can't Have (Winnipeg: Signature Editions, 2006). Poetry.
Cumberland (Cormorant Books, 2002). Fiction.
[BCBW 2017] "Fiction" "Poetry"
Cumberland (Cormorant $22.95)
Halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, Cumberland is a dying industrial town in south-eastern Ontario in the wake of NAFTA. But life retains its spark as new relationships are forged for seventeen-year-old Amanda, a runaway who’s fed up with her self-consumed, over-sexed boyfriend. “Amanda gritted her teeth. She wanted to bite him till she drew blood. Or hammer a pencil in his ear.” 1-896951-36-8
[Spring 2003 BCBW]