In fall, 1996, after living in New Brunswick, Canada for 25 years, Ann Copeland returned to the U.S. to become the first holder of the newly endowed Hallie Ford Chair of English at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. During her Canadian sojourn, five collections of her short fiction were published: At Peace, Oberon Press, 1978; The Back Room, Oberon Press, l979; Earthen Vessels, Oberon Press, 1984; The Golden Thread, Viking/Penguin, U.S., Harper/Collins Canada, 1989; Paperback, 1990, reissued by Goose Lane Editions, 1994; Strange Bodies on a Stranger Shore, Goose Lane Editions, Canada, 1994. Her most recent collection, Season of Apples, Goose Lane Editions, 1996, came out after her move to Oregon. That same year saw publication of her The ABC’s of Writing Fiction by Story Press.
For several years, in addition to teaching English literature and writing at a number of Canadian and American universities (University of Idaho, Linfield College, Wichita State, Bemidji State, Mount Allison University and others) Ann Copeland wrote a column for writers in The Saint John Telegraph Journal called “Writers’ Cramp.” She has published numerous stories and essays in both Canada and the United States.
Her prizes and awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Ingram Merrill Award, several Canada Council awards, and a Province of New Brunswick award. The Golden Thread was a finalist for Canada’s highest literary award, The Governor General’s Award. Copeland’s stories have appeared in Best Canadian Stories, Best American Short Stories, The Journey Prize Anthology, Best Maritime Short Stories, Choice Atlantic Writers of Newfoundland and the Maritimes, The Penguin Anthology of Stories by Canadian Women, Voices and Echoes, Canadian Women’ Spirituality.
The story, “Second Spring,” from Earthen Vessels was made into a 30 minute film produced by E. Jane Thompson for Atlantis Films and won a prize for the best short TV drama in Canada in 1992. In l991 she represented Canada at the Listener Women’s Book Festival in New Zealand.
Ann Copeland was awarded an honorary degree by University of New Brunswick, St. John.
She holds a Ph.D. from Cornell in Modern Literature.
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A comment from Ann Copeland:
- "So much for the official resume. They never really tell the story. I started to write fiction in 1974 when I had moved to Sackville, New Brunswick (pop.3000). I had recently married and become a mother, and before that had emerged relatively intact from 13 years as a nun, which had included teaching English literature on both the high school and college level.
In Canada, I wanted to reach out beyond my boundaries, make contact with other readers and writers. My list of rejected stories in the early years appalls my students. Sometimes I sent out a story 20 times before it saw light in print.
Meanwhile, life went on, I grew as a writer, came to better understand the challenges and rewards or writing fiction, and kept at it.