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Michael Crummey
Photo credit: Julie van der Meulen

Michael Crummey was born in Buchans, a mining town in the interior of Newfoundland, growing up there and in Wabush, Labrador, a mining town near the Quebec border. Second of four boys born to parents Arthur and Mazie. Attended Memorial University in St. John's, completing a BA in English in 1987. Moved to Kingston, ON to pursue graduate work at Queen's University, finally and mercifully dropping out of the Ph. D program in 1989 (Michael Crummey, BA, MA, P.).

With the exception of a brief stint teaching ESL in China for 6 months in 1991, he's lived in Kingston ever since, and in the course of that time has managed to pick up a ridiculous Ontario accent. He has worked at a variety of jobs including institutional counselor with the John Howard Society; chief cook and bottle washer for the International Day of Solidarity With the People of Guatemala; and, most recently, paid lackey of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group-Kingston.

Began making serious attempts to write poetry in first year university -- awful, awful stuff which he was good enough to keep quiet about. Came out of the poetry closet in 1986 when he entered and won the Gregory J. Power Poetry Contest at Memorial University. The $500 award gave him the mistaken impression there was money to be made in poetry. First published in St. John's-based literary mag TickleAce. In 1994 he won the inaugural Bronwen Wallace Award for Poetry, a national prize for writers under 35 who have yet to be published in book form. A first book of poems was published in 1996 by Kingston's Quarry Press. Arguments with Gravity went on to win the Writer's Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Poetry. A second collection, Hard Light, was published by Brick Books in 1998.

Recently tried his hand at writing fiction after years of avoiding another dose of the long painful apprenticeship he went through with poetry. His first published story was a runner up in the 1994 Prism international Short Fiction Contest, and he has published about a dozen pieces of short fiction since, including one which has been selected for The Journey Prize Anthology 10 (McLelland & Stewart, 1998). Flesh & Blood, a collection of stories, appeared with Beach Holme Publishing in 1998.

A couple of random notes: He is the only person in his family living anywhere near the poverty line. His three brothers, all of whom have chosen financially lucrative careers and relatively stable lives, are saving for his retirement. Like everyone else and their dogs, he is working on a novel.

Michael Crummey's works copyright © to the author.

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