George Bowering

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George Bowering, BA’60, MA’63, DLit’94

Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. George Bowering is one of the most influential and prolific writers in Canadian literary history. A national historian, essayist, short-story writer, novelist, editor and children’s author, he is a prime example of the artistic talent that UBC is proud to foster. The quantity, originality and relevance of his work have distinguished him as an international artist, leading him to be honored as the first poet laureate of Canada. George has given the world more than 90 published books and has edited more than 20 others, revolutionizing the art of contemporary Canadian poetry along the way.

George’s passion for writing began early. A year before he obtained his MA in English from UBC, he had already published his play, The Home for Heroes. Upon graduating in 1963 he published Sticks & Stones, his first collection of poems, and by 1967 had published three more along with a novel and a chapbook. His output soared as quickly as his reputation and influence on the Canadian and then international literary scene. In 1969, a mere six years after graduation, George received the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. In 1980 he received a Governor General’s Award for Fiction, becoming one of a select few to receive the award in both categories (putting him in the company of Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood). His life’s work has been recognized by both UBC and the University of Western Ontario with honorary doctorates. Topping off a lengthy list of accolades are his standing as a member of the Order of British Columbia and officer of the Order of Canada.

George’s influence can also be seen outside the literary world. He is a notable local and national historian and an emeritus professor of English at Simon Fraser University. Not content with reiterating conventional approaches to Canadian writing, he encourages the creative talents of the younger generation. George mentors aspiring authors, thus ensuring a brighter future for the Canadian arts.


Do you know someone who has made a difference? This is your chance to give them the recognition they deserve.

Nominations for the 2012 Alumni Achievement Awards are now open. Find out more about the nomination process and nominate an outstanding individual today.

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