College of Arts and Sciences

Eden Robinson

Eden Robinson, Spring 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008:
Question & answer session, University Writing Center (Simpkins 341), 4:00pm
Public reading, University Art Gallery, 7:00pm

“I was born on the same day as Edgar Allan Poe and Dolly Parton: January 19. I am absolutely certain that this affects my writing in some way.”

One of Eden Robinson’s biggest literary influences has been Stephen King, whose books she read compulsively between the ages of ten and fourteen, when she started writing her own stories. “I was a bookworm, right from the beginning. When I got bored of classes, I’d skip them and go to the library.” Later, studying creative writing at the University of Victoria, Eden says she flunked in fiction and blossomed in poetry....

Eden Robinson, writer (born at Haisla Nation Kitamaat Reserve, BC 19 Jan 1968). Eden Robinson, the daughter of a Haisla father and HEILTSUK mother, grew up in KITAMAAT territory on British Columbia's central coast. Robinson, who changed her given name from Vicki Lena to Eden during her first year at university, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria. She then completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. After many years of travel and city life, Robinson returned to Kitamaat Reserve in 2003. Eden Robinson counts Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe amongst her literary influences, and she has won national and international acclaim for her dark, gothic fiction.

Eden Robinson’s first publication, Traplines (1996), is a collection of three short stories and a novella. Robinson’s young narrators recount haunting tales of their disturbing relationships with sociopaths and psychopaths. The collection won Britain’s Winifred Holtby Prize for the best regional work by a Commonwealth writer. Monkey Beach (2000), Robinson’s first novel, is set in Kitamaat territory. The novel follows a teenaged girl’s search for answers to and understanding of her younger brother’s disappearance at sea. The book is both a mystery and a spiritual journey, combining contemporary realism with Haisla mysticism. Monkey Beach was short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award, and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.

Eden Robinson returns to the characters and urban terrain of her novella “Contact Sports,” from Traplines, in her 2006 novel Blood Sports. Set five years after the original story, the protagonist Tom is still struggling to make a life for himself and his young family. In addition to the usual challenges of Vancouver’s East Side, Tom faces peril again from his sociopathic cousin Jeremy, who takes sadistic pleasure in ruining Tom’s life. Reviewers praise Robinson’s unflinching and compelling exploration of the darkest impulses of humanity. She is a recipient of the University of Victoria’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

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