news and events

April 22, 2023

Here’s the schedule for the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. I’m so excited to be included this year! John will print a letterpress keepsake, embellished by me with indigo cotton and maybe a shell button, to celebrate the event.


March 21, 2023

In the mailbox today, SubTerrain 93, with my kitchen essay, “The Sound of Forks and Laughter”. The whole issue looks great!

subterrainkitchen essay

March 17, 2023

I loved talking to Melanie Kindrachuk about my first novel, Sisters of Grass, and sewing, quilting, and women’s work for her online book club.

March 7, 2023

I’ll be participating in two literary festivals over the summer. The first one, Word on the Lake, is actually a spring festival but May in Salmon Arm is often very warm and lovely. Visit the website for more information:

And I’ll also be reading at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, in Sechelt, over the weekend of August 17-20.

February 22, 2023

Pleased to be invited to participate in this online event. Here’s the link.


February 21, 2023

I’ve been working on the final edits of an essay, “Seams: Piecework in Twenty Uneven Stitches”, to be included in this beautiful anthology, due out fall, 2023 from Arsenal Pulp Press.

Sharp Notions Cover Final

December 12, 2022

I’m really thrilled to be on this list!

Best Non-Fiction of 2022

December 9, 2022

Forrest conducts a tour of the exhibit he curated for Library and Archives Canada, currently installed at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau.

December 8, 2022

A little heads’ up. I’ll be at the wonderful Word on the Lake Writers Festival in May, 2023. This will my third visit and I’m really looking forward to it. More as details evolve…

My son Forrest, talking on Ottawa Morning about an exhibit he’s curated for Library and Archives Canada.

November 26, 2022

My publisher, the University of Alberta Press, is having a Holiday sale! Details here:

Our Holiday Sale is On!

October 18, 2022

I loved Maleea Acker’s new poetry collection, Hesitating Once to Feel Glory, and my review is here:

1590 The art of looking

October 7, 2022

An opportunity to talk about the essay!

Kishkan zoom talk on essays

September 30, 2022

I’ll be reading with Jane Cawthorne on November 24th at Massy Arts Gallery in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Please visit the link for further information about COVID protocols, etc. Hope to see you there!

Building Literary Homes: An Evening with Jane Cawthorne & Theresa Kishkan

September 24, 2022

Literary Reading: Theresa Kishkan, 24 September | Event in Nanoose Bay |

September 10, 2022

I posted this on my blog page and maybe it belongs here too. (Recent reviews are over at my Blue Portugal page…)

reading keepsakes

On Saturday, September 24th, I’ll be reading at the Sechelt Arts Centre at 7 p.m. at the invitation of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council, the first in-person reading there for over 2.5 years. I’m thinking of the event as a launch for Blue Portugal & Other Essays and an even more belated launch for The Weight of the Heart, an opportunity to talk about the books and to celebrate them. To celebrate them in relationship to those who read them, who have come out to other events over the years, and who have provided support and friendship. Bev Shaw of Talewind Books will have my books available. I’ll be bringing a cake. I’ll also be bringing a small gift to those who come to reading. John printed little cards with a quote from “Museum of the Multitude Village” — “Everything I am remembering is burnished with moonshine…”, a nod to our wonderful experience in Ukraine in 2019, when yes, there was moonshine provided at every stop, little glasses of horilka, flavoured with kalina or horseradish or mountain ginseng or orange peel. It was fiery and delicious and it was part of the welcome we received: bread, salt, and moonshine. Years ago I read Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World and I was very taken with his ideas about reciprocity and the value of creativity.

The passage into mystery always refreshes. If, when we work, we can look once a day upon the face of mystery, then our labor satisfies. We are lightened when our gifts rise from pools we cannot fathom. Then we know they are not a solitary egotism and they are inexhaustible.

The world I want to live in is one where people are generous, where a gift can be given without an expectation of receiving something back, where what we take from the earth is both a nourishing source for us and also a responsibility. I am endlessly inspired by this beautiful damaged planet and I am held up, supported, by a widening circle of family and friends. If you come to the reading, I can’t greet you at the door with moonshine but I can give you a token, something John and I have made together, and if you look closely, you’ll see the burnished light of a tiny moon.

August 18, 2022

I’ll be reading at the Sechelt Arts Centre on September 24 as part of the Sunshine Coast Art Council’s Literary Readings Series. This is the first live reading in ages–at the Arts Centre and for me!– and I’m very excited. I’m considering it a launch for Blue Portugal & Other Essays and will be providing cake! The reading is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. with a reception, either in the middle of the reading or else at the end. More details to follow.

August 8, 2022

I recently saw this post (from some time ago) on my novella, Winter Wren:

August 2, 2022

Michael Hayward’s gorgeous review of Blue Portugal & Other Essays:

July 8, 2022

I’m really pleased that my essay, “Seams: piecework in 20 uneven stitches”, about quilting my way through John’s bilateral hip-surgery, recovery from unexpected injury, and our isolation during that period due to COVID 19, will be part of Sharp Notions: Essays on the Stitching Life, an anthology edited by Nancy Lee and Marita Dachsel, to be published in 2023 by Arsenal Pulp Press.

May 30, 2022

A congenial conversation with Joe Planta:

May 19, 2022

And this, today!

May 17, 2022

Today is the official publication date for Blue Portugal and Other Essays. You can order a copy from any bookstore. And there are nice things to link to here, in celebration of my book.

A lovely review in Quill and Quire:

A piece up on the Canadian Writers Abroad site on my search for traces of my family in Ukraine:

A wonderful review of an earlier book, The Weight of the Heart, by the most attentive and intelligent reader imaginable:

May 2, 2022

Last week I participated in an online event with 3 other University of Alberta Press authors as part of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. If you’re interested, here’s a link to the recording of Literary Cocktails. My reading is at about the 16.00 minute point.

April 15, 2022

From the Preface to Blue Portugal and Other Essays

April 14, 2022


February 25, 2022

When Forrest, Manon, and their boys were here earlier in the month, during the terrible events in Ottawa, Forrest began to receive requests from print and broadcast journalists to comment on the use of the Canadian flag by the truck convoys. He’d go into the back room to take their calls and come out to tell us what he’d said. We heard him the CBC show, The House, last Saturday morning, and yesterday he did a record 13 interviews in 3 hours. He holds a PhD in history and works as a curator and archivist at Library and Archives Canada but apparently he is also a vexillologist. Who knew? Well, maybe we knew way back in his elementary and high school years when flag etiquette and protocols were among his interests.  Here’s one of the interviews!

February 8, 2022

As I proofread the galleys of Blue Portugal, this!

January 26, 2022

Very glad to have this to look forward to!

Telling the Truth February 2022

August 23, 2021

It was lovely to have reviewer Miranda Marini consider all 3 Fish Gotta Swim Editions at the Ormsby Review this weekend! If you would like to order copies of the novellas, visit

And for the next month, we will cover shipping if you order all 3 titles.

July 19, 2021

Looking for something else, I found this link to Rosemarie Landry singing my poems! What I remember about the suite of poems and how they found their way to music: the composer Steve Tittle wrote to me to ask permission to set a group of poems from Ikons of the Hunt to music. A chamber composition, to be premiered at the Scotia Festival in Halifax in 1987. I remember he wrote to say that it had been recorded and would be broadcast on CBC Stereo (as it was in those days) and I was excited, planned to listen. But oh, our radio reception was terrible in those days. (It still isn’t great.) I sat on the deck by the front door, radio in hand, turning the aerial this way and that to try to tune in so I could listen. I wondered if I was the only person in the world trying to listen to her words being sung by a celebrated soprano, fruitlessly holding a radio in the air.

July 1, 2021

I’m happy to share the cover of my forthcoming book, Blue Portugal & Other Essays, due Spring 2022 from the University of Alberta Press (you can read about it here).

Blue Portugal 3 cover1

June 16, 2021

This isn’t my news exactly but if you’ve read the title essay in my collection Euclid’s Orchard, then you’ll know why this makes me so proud.


June 11, 2021

Natasha Herman, book artist, book conservator, and in the far past, part of the team that typeset and printed my novella Inishbream in its Barbarian Press edition, asked Anik See and me some questions about our Fish Gotta Swim Editions and our latest title, Wanda. You can read the interview here:

I love this observation by Anik:

I don’t really see working so far apart as a challenge. We’re both from Canada, which means you adapt to distance.

June 1, 2021

A wonderful review of my novella, The Weight of the Heart!

February 6, 2021

I am so happy to announce that I signed a contract on Thursday with the University of Alberta Press  to publish Blue Portugal and Other Essays as part of their Wayfarer Series in the spring of 2022. The 10 essays in Blue Portugal roam around, exploring history, ampelography, love, the aging body, the colour blue, and memory.  I look forward to the next year, revising, considering cover ideas, and spending more time in the world of these essays.

November 28, 2020

For news about what we’re up to at Fish Gotta Swim Editions, have a look at our latest newsletter (hint: fish are swimming your way):

September 24, 2020

I was so happy to receive this review this morning, Michael Hayward writing about The Weight of the Heart in Geist 116. And what I loved (almost) best of all? That my book sends people to read Ethel Wilson and Sheila Watson. They are entirely worth our attention.

geist weight of the heart

August 19, 2020

An interview due to appear in the University of Victoria’s Ampersand:

June 26, 2020

There’s a generous review of The Weight of the Heart in the Coast Reporter today. So gratitified.

May 18, 2020

Those of you familiar with my work know that I am particularly drawn to the essay as a capacious and compelling literary genre. I’ve published four collections of essays and have recently completed a fifth. I was delighted this morning to be told that I am included in this gathering of contemporary essayists. I’m familiar with the work of the other four writers and can recommend them whole-heartedly! The essay can lead us through intricate labyrinths, alert us to strange and wondrous geographies, ask questions we never knew were there, and it can collect the necessary and beautiful components of a life.

May 2, 2020

There’s a wonderful review of my novella at the Ormsby Review today, written by David Stouck.

April 29, 2020

Kishkan COVER 72dpi_RGB

I am thrilled with the cover of my forthcoming novella, The Weight of the Heart, due out later in May from Palimpsest Press. Given that these are challenging times, I don’t expect there will be a book launch in the immediate future though I know the book will be celebrated in other ways. My husband John will print a keepsake and we will figure out how to make sure that interested readers receive one. Stay tuned!

December 15, 2019

I wrote about Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Ties, edited by Catriona Sandilands, for the Ormsby Review. I really enjoyed the range of perspectives, the quality of the writing, the way individual pieces spoke to one another over the pages. It was like overhearing a good conversation.

December 7, 2019

I love the cover of the forthcoming anthology Locations of Grief: an emotional geography (Wolsak & Wynn, Spring, 2020), edited by Catherine Owen.


My contribution is “We are still here: J.S. Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004″, an essay in the footsteps of the dance movements of the Partita, finding in the music’s structures and rhythms a way to explore grief.

From the second movement, the Corrente:
     Time now to take off the blue smock, put on your day clothes, two steps and then a double (single/single/double) to the left, then repeating the same to the right (heel blessed by the goddess), with single or double straight steps, a little skip as you leave the suite of rooms where you have been wrapped in warm flannel, sent into the cave (single, single, though your loved ones hovered). In the waiting room and the hall at the Cancer Clinic, you see the dancers moving slowly on the polished linoleum, two steps, a careful double, repeat, repeat, their wheelchairs and walkers, their canes and the arms of those who help to support them, the final bars of the Corrente slowed down, slow for those waiting for procedures, for leaving the imaging rooms, the rooms where the chemicals are dripped into veins, the beauty of the dance theirs for time suspended in the dust motes,“clearly music on which hopes are built,i” the bright lights overhead, the little groups huddled on benches, heads down in sorrow, hands clasped in fear.

i Johann Mattheson , trans.Ernest C. Harriss, Der vollkommene Capellmeister (Hamburg, 1739). Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1981.

November 29, 2019

Brick 104 is out! Info here:


November 11, 2019

I wish I could attend the launch party for Brick 104 in Toronto, at the Gladstone Hotel’s Melody Bar, on December 2 at 7:30 p.m. My essay “A Dark Path” is included in the issue. But if you’re in Toronto, maybe attend (there will readings and the new issue will be available) and let me know how it goes?

August 27, 2019

Lovely to read this review of Inishbream by Richard Pickard:

June 12, 2019

My review of the new anthology, Love of the Salish Sea Islands, is up at the Ormsby Review site! (A shorter version is in the latest print issue of BCBookWorld.);

April 2, 2019

I loved seeing two of my books on this list, along with an incredible range of non-fiction.

March 26, 2019

Now that the contract has been signed, I’m free to tell the world that my novella, The Marriage of Rivers, will be published in the Spring of 2020 by Palimpsest Press. I’ve long been an admirer of that press and the beautiful literary titles they publish so it’s both a pleasure and honour to anticipate my own novella on the Palimpsest list. (The title will be changing so I’ll update this when I’ve figured that out.)

March 26, 2019

Sometimes a book has an extended life and how grateful I was to find that Winter Wren still sings…

January 31, 2019

My wonderful publisher, Mona Fertig at Mother Tongue Publishing, still has a few review copies of Euclid’s Orchard. If you’d like to review it for a journal or on your blog, please contact me. (I like to think of books having lives that are a bit longer than the usual publishing cycle of a year, tops. Slow writing, slow reading, slow reviewing…why not?)

January 28, 2019

The gorgeous Little Toller Books in England has an online journal, The Clearing, and I’m happy to say that they’ve published an abbreviated version of my essay, “How Rivers Break Away and Come Together Again”. It’s an essay with a number of strands, or waterways, and it’s very long; it was an interesting process to identify one possible thread to tease out and shape into a shorter version of the essay. I’m very glad to have done it and am delighted to see it featured this week!

December 7, 2018

A great idea, from All Lit Up! Pairing Euclid’s Orchard with gardening tools for a holiday gift…

December 3, 2018

My conversation with Michael Enright on the CBC’S Sunday Edition. We talked about Ethel Wilson’s beautiful Swamp Angel.

October 29, 2018

I don’t have much news to report. I visited a wonderful book club in Victoria and had the pleasure of talking to a group of intelligent vibrant women (and their partners) about my work as we feasted on delicious food. I’ve recently completed the draft of a novella set in B.C.’s fabled Interior but I don’t expect to publish it (many reasons). I’m working on essays, a rich tangle of material I’m sorting through and trying to make sense of.

My husband John Pass will be reading on November 3 at the Arts Centre in Sechelt as part of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council’s reading series. 8 p.m. He’ll be reading in part from a forthcoming book, This Was The River, due out from Harbour Publishing in spring of 2019.

July 13, 2018

Another good review of Courtepointe.

June 30, 2018

A sweet review of Courtepointe (Patrin‘s French sister) here:

June 28, 2018

As well as my ongoing work as a writer (and mother, grandmother, gardener, quilter, and enthusiastic amateur history buff), I’ve been involved with the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival since its first concerts in 2005. Mostly I do the writing—the brochure copy, the press releases, notes here and there, and I edit the programme notes, now very ably written by Evan Hesketh (a violist and conductor living in Los Angeles). It’s a very Festival, held in what we call the School of Music or Music School in Madeira Park, but which was originally part of a forestry service site; the old buildings now house a pre-school, a small library, an art gallery, and the former garage or workshop, now repurposed as a performance centre. Generous windows look out over the Government wharf and harbour. Our Festival is really wonderful. Musicians come together from all parts of the country (and sometimes from the States or Spain) to play together in a series of concerts curated by our Artistic Director (and pianist) Alexander Tselyakov. Tickets are on sale now and they go fast. People build their holiday plans around the Festival and come from near and far.

June 5, 2018

I think of the B.C. Book Prizes shortlist as the gift that keeps on giving. Today my publisher Mona Fertig sent this image of Euclid’s Orchard with the honour sticker actually printed on it:

Euclid's Orchard_cover with honour sticker

May 28, 2018

tower on the kitchen table

My other hat, the one I wear as the co-publisher (with Anik See) of Fish Gotta Swim Editions, went into the air just now as our mail person drove up the long driveway, gunning her 4×4 at the turn, to deliver the second of our books, the beautiful Tower by Ottawa writer Frances Boyle. (To be entirely honest, it was my gardening hat, an old straw one with a magpie feather stuck into the brim.) The book looks wonderful (thanks to Printorium, in Victoria) and if you’ve ordered one, I will be filling orders in the next few days. If you’d like to order one, visit our website ( and follow the simple steps.

And here’s Frances on her novella, Tower:

May 18, 2018

In today’s mail, an amazing review of Euclid’s Orchard in the Pacific Rim Review of Books (Issue 23, Volume 12, No. 1), by poet and fiction writer Linda Rogers. Here’s the last part:


May 14, 2018 (the day after Mothers Day)

I woke to this beautiful review of Euclid’s Orchard. It’s so gratifying when someone (thank you, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch!) reads the book you hope you’ve written:

May 5, 2015

Home from the B.C. Book Prizes. Euclid’s Orchard didn’t win the Hubert Evans Prize (though it would have been kind of serendipitous because Hubert’s granddaughter helped to deliver my son Brendan in the Sechelt Hospital 35 years ago and Brendan is the inspiration for the title essay….). It was inspiring to hear Arthur Manuel’s son accept the award for The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy
(by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson) and to talk for a while with Carys Cragg, whose book Dead Reckoning: How I Came to Meet the Man Who Murdered My Father was also nominated for the prize. And this morning I just read this new review of my book. It’s gratifying to know it has some readers!

April 25, 2018

If you’re on the Coast on Friday, April 27, the Artesia Coffee House is the place to be! John and I will be reading, along with some great music. 8:00…

Coast Cultural Alliance

Hello Folks

The monthly Artesia coffee house will be presented Friday, April 27th at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt.

As April is poetry month, we have two very special guests reading from their latest works. Theresa Kishkan who’s latest book Euclid’s Orchard was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and poet John Pass author of over 19 books of poetry and Governor General’s Literary Award recipient.

The evening will also include music from the Senior Group of Bad to the Bow, a special quartet with Anna Lumiere on grand piano, Kaia Nielsen, double bass, Gabriel Dubreuil, violin and Graham Ord, sax/flute plus the Reflections choir with Solveigh Harrison, Noni Weitz, Yolanda McGillivray, Jane Metcalfe, Ann Law, Patricia Mather and Roslyn Mundy. It will be another eclectic evening of live entertainment.

Doors open at 7:00 with show time at 8:00pm, tickets are $10 at the door. Come early to get a good seat, enjoy treats by Trish, a slideshow of past musicians and the new art exhibit in the Doris Crowston Gallery. 

Looking for a ride to the coffee house? Try the newest way to connect through ride-sharing on the Coast – ‘SHARE THERE’. Go to and check it out!

For a link to this month’s poster and an archive of the past go to

April 23, 2018

Really looking forward to this event! I will have copies of Euclid’s Orchard for sale and I even have BC Book Prizes Honour Book stickers to go with them!

Euclid's Orchard at Gibsons Library.jpg

Help us celebrate local author Theresa Kishkan’s critically acclaimed new book, EUCLID’S ORCHARD, now a finalist for a BC Book Prize!

Theresa Kishkan will read from her new book followed by an inspiring discussion of writing and place, facilitated by Dick Harrison.

“A collection of fascinations and astonishments, of the world as it is and was and is ever becoming.” –Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This

“Each image is a perfect crystallization of a detail, gesturing toward a truth much larger than the tiny pinpoint of its composition.”
–BC Bookworld

The Gibsons Public Library welcomes individuals of any race, ethnicity, religious affliliation, sexual orientation, gender identity and ability, and is wheelchair accessible.

The Gibsons & District Public Library is located on the traditional, unceded and ancestral territory of the Squamish Nation.

April 16, 2018

My publishing partner Anik See and I are really excited to announce that our micro-press, Fish Gotta Swim Editions, will release its second title, Tower, a novella by Frances Boyle, a little later this spring.

Tower cover kopie

If you would like more information, let me know. I can add you to our newsletter list or send you what I think of as our “catalogue” — two pages describing our publications thus far. If you would like a review copy, I will have a limited number of those too.

April 14, 2018

If you were thinking of coming to the event at the Gibsons Public Library on May 2 at 6 p.m., let me just sweeten the pot by telling you that scholar, writer, and all-around great guy Dick Harrison will be introducing me and moderating a Q&A period during the event. There will also be copies of Euclid’s Orchard for sale.

April 6, 2018

 There’s a nice note about Euclid’s Orchard and its Hubert Evans Award nomination in the Coast Reporter today:

There’s also a lovely review of Euclid’s Orchard in the most recent issue of Geist (107). I carefully made a photocopy at the Sechelt Library yesterday but then I forgot to put it in my bag. (In my defense, I was copying other stuff too and had various individual piles here and there…)

April 5, 2018

Euclid's Orchard at Gibsons Library.jpg

March 26, 2018

I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend this Soirée as John and I will only return from an Easter trip to Edmonton two days before it but for anyone in the Vancouver area who wants to celebrate the shortlisted authors, I’m sure it will be a perfect occasion!Soiree 2018 invitation.jpg

March 12, 2018

Euclid’s Orchard is in very good company today!

February 27, 2018

I returned from a few days away — Steveston, Galiano Island, Victoria (sigh!) — to find a note telling me there was a new review of Euclid’s Orchard at the Ormsby Review. And oh! it’s so generous….

February 17, 2018

There’s a review of Courtepointe (Patrin‘s French sister) in Le Devoir!

February 16, 2018

I think there are still spaces left for my workshop (“The Essay as Gathering Basket”) next Friday on Galiano Island. Here’s the schedule link:

My plan is to talk about the kind of essay I write, showing how a lot of disparate material finds its way into a relationship. I’ve asked that participants bring 3 things: a photograph, a recipe, a significant small object. I have 3 more prompts. These 6 strands, scraps, seemingly random ideas—well, I think we will find that they become the materials of essays. We’ll talk and write and share our work. There might even be treats.

December 18, 2017

I’ll be offering a workshop, “The Essay as Gathering Basket”, at the 2018 Galiano Island Literary Festival ( on February 23, 2018. If you’re interested in spending a few hours working on the beginnings of an essay, with prompts and suggestions, why not consider joining me? Here’s more information on the Festival workshops:

December 8, 2017

A lovely review of Euclid’s Orchard by Mary Ann Moore in a classy Vancouver Island magazine:  (Click to open Current Issue.) It’s full of nice things and concludes like this…

Besides planting, harvesting, writing and raising children, Kishkan has made dozens of quilts over thirty years. She’s used to scribbling patterns onto scraps of paper and now wants “to find a way to sew the graphic representation of Euclid’s orchard.” Best to read the essay rather than have me explain, in very few words, the intricacies of Kishkan’s exploration of Euclid’s orchard: “an array of one-dimensional ‘trees’.” The long essay takes the author and we readers through an apple orchard at the north end of the Sechelt Peninsula where Kishkan and her husband built  their home in the early 1980s. There she has found solid ground. And as she writes: “All my life, I’ve felt at home in language.” For this, we readers can be grateful. ~

November 20, 2017
“…the architecture of the novella is one of its immediate pleasures.” (Ian McEwan)
In time for Christmas, a novella sale! 3 for $45. Shipping free in Canada. Elsewhere, I’ll try to keep it reasonable.
November 7, 2017
The most gorgeous and generous review of Euclid’s Orchard by Kerry Clare can be read here:
It’s full of lovely things but this? Oh this!
She writes about the landscapes of her childhood, places firmly etched on the map of her mind. About trees and flowers, cuttings the history and stories of gardens—and this book is a nice complementary read to Helen Humphreys’s new book, The Ghost Orchard, which I read not long before it. Euclid’s Orchard is a collection of fascinations and astonishments, of the world as it is and was and is ever becoming.
October 28, 2017
I’m sorry to say that John and I won’t be at the Alcuin Society Wayzgoose on November 4th at the Vancouver Public Library (rogue health adventure for my poor husband) and we’re very sad to miss it. A perfect place to see the range of possibilities within the book arts community, from fine papers, to marbling, to beautiful notebooks bound with linen or silk, to letterpress ephemera.
October 27, 2017
I was delighted to read this piece in today’s Coast Reporter (the weekly newspaper for the Sechelt Peninsula):
October 19, 2017
My publisher Mona Fertig sent some images from Euclid’s Orchard book launches in September. Here’s Mona and me at the library in Ganges:
mona and me
and here’s me at the library in Sechelt, with an image on the screen behind me of my family around a little campfire on White Pine Island (on Ruby Lake) about 25 years ago. When I launched my book in Sechelt, I had a running series of my ghosts behind me as I read and talked because I wanted people to see what (or who) inspired much of the writing in the book, the presences I felt hovering around me last fall.
in sechelt
October 17, 2017
John and I will participate in the Alcuin Society‘s Wayzgoose this year at the Vancouver Public Library on November 4.
We’ll have letterpress broadsheets for sale—individual copies as well as folios—and other ephemera. We’ll also have copies of our own books for sale and John’s suggesting that we include a free broadsheet with each book we sell. How’s that for incentive? We always do some our Christmas shopping at the Wayzgoose. Fine press books, letterpress cards and posters, marbled and handmade papers, limited edition prints in various media…something for everyone.
September 23, 2017
Women essayists
September 18, 2017


4th Thursday of every month
Pandora’s Collective Presents

Features poets plus an open mic.
​Suggested donation at the door: $5
Time: 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Open Mic sign up at 7 pm. Readings begin at 7:30
Upcoming Features:
September 20th: In Conjunction with Word Vancouver
Theresa Kishkan, Arleen Pare & Dan MacIsaac
October 26th: Clea Roberts,Therrien Richard & Jami Macarty
November 23rd: Wendy Donawa, Susan Alexander, Michelle Vanderpol
Location: Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main St, Vancouver, BC
Supported by the Writers Union of Canada and The League of Canadian Poets.
Hosts: Daniela Elza & Bonnie Nish
Contact: ​
September 7, 2017
This morning, I’m All Lit Up, as opposed to yesterday, when I was simply in the window:
Seriously, I really enjoyed participating in All Lit Up’s Writer’s Block feature.
September 5, 2017
A week notable for a few things—the return to school (not for me, whew); the 1st birthday of this beautiful little boy (my grandson Henry);
beautiful henry.jpg
and the launch for Euclid’s Orchard at the library in Sechelt on Friday evening!
evite Euclids Orchard Sechelt jpg.
If you’re on the Coast, you’d be very welcome. I’ll be baking desserts all week!
August 30, 2017
Today Euclid’s Orchard arrived! The physical book is beautiful — vivid cover, elegant design. When I first looked in, I thought I saw a typo and my heart sank and then I showed John and he said, “No, that’s the way ‘quilter’ is spelled.” (In my hurry, I saw it as “quitler”.) So this is what I saw when I opened the box in my car in front of the Madeira Park post office.
box of books
August 23, 2017
If you’re in Victoria in October…
Image result for theresa kishkan
August 17, 2017
A month from today, John and I will be reading together as part of the Poetic Justice series in New Westminster, thanks to James Felton (who has just sent this nifty notice).
poetic justice
August 8, 2017
Loved seeing The Summer Book here and how nice to have my piece mentioned so positively. A bookend! With Brian Brett! Fine company….
August 4, 2017
The Summer Book continues to be read and enjoyed!
The generous Kerry Clare has a post about it on her wonderful blog, Pickle Me This:
Rob Wiersema reviewed it on August 1 for the CBC’s afternoon show, All Points West — and I’m not much of a techie so I’m not sure that you can listen to the actual segment at this link but maybe you’re more adept than I am.
August 3, 2017
An update on promotional events for Euclid’s Orchard, forthcoming September 1st:
Sunshine Coast launch: September 8th, 7 pm, Sechelt Public Library. Refreshments served, books available…
September 17, 11:30, with John Pass as part of the Poetic Justice series in New Westminster, current venue: Boston Pizza 1045 Columbia St New Westminster V3M 1C4
September 20, 7 pm at Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street Vancouver, as part of the Twisted Poets series in conjunction with Word Vancouver, with Arleen Pare & Dan MacIsaac
September 30, 7:30 pm, Salt Spring Island Library (Ganges), with Sarah DeLeeuw
October 4, 7:30-9:00 (doors open at 7), Munro’s Books, Victoria, with Bill Gaston
July 13, 2017
Lovely to wake up to this today! (And believe me, the entire anthology is worth reading!)
Watch this page for details of readings and events this fall to celebrate the publication of Euclid’s Orchard. I’m just correcting the final proofs this week and am so grateful to the designer, Setareh Ashrafologhalai, and the publisher, Mona Fertig (Mother Tongue Publishing), who have created a truly beautiful shape for my essays. The page design is so thoughtful and elegant, and there are photographs!
July 5, 2017
The Summer Book is getting wonderful reviews. (My essay, “Love Song”, is included in the anthology!) — and this one includes this praise:

“The book opens with a gorgeously lyrical short piece, Love Song, by Pender Harbour writer Theresa Kishkan who arouses the spirit of the Sunshine Coast in her description. The reader can almost hear the thrushes sing and inhale the scent of fresh raspberries.”
June 19, 2017
I loved seeing the copy for Euclid’s Orchard in the Heritage Catalogue today! (Thanks, Mona!)
Screenshot (1).png
And boy, did I love reading this little piece on the 49th Shelf about The Summer Book—my essay “Love Song” is included in the anthology.
Why we’re taking notice: Oh my gosh, just read the first essay by Theresa Kishkan, this amazing, mesmerizing, transporting, telescoping thing. Which is kind of just like summer is. And then read the rest of the book, but not too quickly. Also like summer, you’ll want this one to linger as long as possible.
June 3, 2017
Yesterday, as we drove home from two weeks away, in Salmon Arm, in Edmonton, following the scent of poplars through southern Alberta to Waterton Lakes (for two days), then along the Crowsnest Highway through Creston (overnight) and Osoyoos (overnight), driving along the beautiful Similkameen River as it undulated through fields, groves of Ponderosa pine, aspens, I felt like the character in my novella, Patrin, noticing everything, wanting to find my way on old trails. So it was wonderful to arrive at the ferry terminal on the last lap home, to open my email, and find the first draft of the French translation of Patrin waiting for me. My French is terrible but I can read it better than I can speak it and I immediately found myself intrigued by the text. I think this might just be the thing to make me more fluent — this, and a bilingual grandson who moves from English to French as smoothly as water. I love the title of the book in French: La Courtepointe, or “Quilt”. The translator is Annie Pronovost and from my first foray into the book, I think she might have found the right tone and language to take Patrin into another language. Publisher is Marchand de feuilles and the book comes out in 2018.
May 23, 2017
Some early planning for Euclid’s Orchard, forthcoming September from Mother Tongue Publishing…
SEPT 8, SECHELT, Sechelt Public Library, 7 pm LAUNCH!
SEPT 15, MADEIRA PARK, Pender Harbour Music School 7 pm
SEPT 20, VANCOUVER, Cottage Bistro, 7 pm plus (some) Summer Book writers, 7:00 pm
SEPT 30, SALT SPRING ISLAND, Salt Spring Library, 7:30 pm with Sarah de Leeuw
OCT 4, VICTORIA, Munro’s Books with Bill Gaston
April 12, 2017
salmon arm pier
Not long now til Word on the Lake, in beautiful Salmon Arm! Weekend of May 19-21…I’ll be offering a workshop (on both the Saturday and Sunday), participating in the Blue Pencil Cafés, and a reading event on the opening night.
April 6, 2017
Available now at Outpost 19 Books:
My essay, “Euclid’s Orchard”, is included in the anthology!
April 1, 2017 (but no joke)
If you’re in Kamloops and want to take a poetry workshop, may I recommend this one?
kamloops workshop
March 31, 2017
I had the best conversation this morning with Sheila Peters in Smithers. She has a show, In the Shadow of the Mountain, on CICK 93.9 and she invited me to be her guest. She’d been reading my essay collection, Phantom Limb, and my novella, Winter Wren, so those are the books we talked about. (I wish I didn’t say “ummm” quite so often but maybe you can’t teach old dogs new tricks…) Here’s a link to the podcast.
March 11, 2017
This morning I returned the final version of an essay, “Love Song”, to Mother Tongue Publishing. It will be part of an anthology due out in early June. Here’s the cover. Something lovely to dream towards as we wait for spring weather. One lonely daffodil trying to bloom in my garden. The others are wise to wait. We had snow again on Thursday!
Summer Book full cover alt
February 15, 2017
There’s a review of Winter Wren in The Goose today. The Goose is the official publication of ALECC (Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada / Association pour la littérature, l’environnement et la culture au Canada). I was particularly gratified by the reviewer’s conclusion:
Kishkan accomplishes a great deal in this work. Her poetics and sense of a narrative molding, using the conventions of fiction and creative nonfiction, allows a poetic prose to emerge from Winter Wren. This is a style that promises to create an emerging form in the genre of Canadian novella.
One of my intentions with Winter Wren was to explore the novella’s possibilities. Not a long short story, not a brief novel, but a form with its own space, its own potential.And within that space, I wanted light, plants, birds, human relationships, natural and cultural history, tides, weather: in short, an ecology.
And I’m looking forward to Word on the Lake in May! Beautiful Salmon Arm, generous audiences, the opportunity to work with aspiring writers…
January 9, 2017
I am so pleased to confirm that Mother Tongue Publishing will publish Euclid’s Orchard, a collection of five essays about family history, mathematics, coyote music, quilt-making, memory, and, and, well, love, in September, 2017. Mona Fertig and her editorial/design team did such a lovely job with Patrin and I am looking forward to working with them on this next book.
November 24, 2016
Patrin by Theresa Kiskhan. A young woman living in Victoria BC in the 1970s, restores an ancient quilt and travels to Czechoslovakia to trace her Roma history.

Patrin is available as an ebook! Thanks to Mona Fertig at Mother Tongue Publishing, the life of this novella is being extended in new and interesting ways. It will be published in French next year by 

And if you are interested in obtaining an ebook, here are the links:

November 19, 2016
I’m so happy to be invited to Word On the Lake in Salmon Arm over the weekend of May 19th – 21st, 2017. More details to come….
November 7, 2016
If you’re on the Sunshine Coast on December 3rd, come and help celebrate the Art Council’s 50th anniversary! Our Arts Centre is possible the nicest one anywhere…
Image result for sunshine coast arts centre

Sat, Dec 3rd : Writers & Readers celebrate 50 years with the Arts Council.

Coast Authors Reading: Howard White, Rebecca Hendry, Andreas Schroeder, Rosella Leslie, Jan Degrass, John Pass, Kristjana Gunnars, Theresa Kishkan, Joe Denham, Cathy MacLean

Plus: Games to test your skills, literary and other. Bar and snacks.

October 6, 2016
If you’re in Nanaimo on October 25th, please come and hear John and me read! For more details:
September 26, 2016
Remember that September is novella month here on the edge of the known world. If you order all three of my novellas — Inishbream, Patrinand Winter Wren, the first title from Fish Gotta Swim Editions — for $45. Shipping included for this month. And if you are like my grandson Arthur, you will really enjoy holding these beauties in your hand (and gnawing on them if allowed). To order, email me: theresakishkan at
September 7, 2016
Born to Brendan and Cristen: Henry Byron. A brother to Kelly. Parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles are thrilled.
September 3, 2016
I’m very pleased that my essay “Euclid’s Orchard” will appear in Rooted: An Anthology of Arboreal Nonfiction (Outpost19 Books), edited by Josh MacIvor-Andersen, introduced by Bill McKibben, forthcoming in Spring 2017. In the process of editing now with Josh, a very positive experience!
My friend Caroline Woodward (Light Years, Singing Away the Dark, Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny just sent me some photographs she took during the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. We both had events over the course of the Festival and Caroline’s was an inspiring presentation based on her life as a lighthouse keeper at Lennard Island, near Tofino. Images of whales, seals, rocky outcroppings, wild seas (and calm ones too), and some delicious descriptions of meals and activities…(Her memoir, Light Years, is very much worth reading.) Anyway, I liked the shots she took of me at the signing table  (complete with green Taos sandals…). You can even see the blackberry jam I gave to those who bought all 3 of my novellas!
festival girl
August 24, 2016
Patrin continues to make her way in the world. The novella has just been reprinted and the new edition is beautiful. The greyscale was enhanced so that Setareh Ashrafologhalai’s superb page design graphics show up this time around. Available in bookstores and via Mother Tongue Publishing:
And yes! Patrin will be published in French by Les Éditions Marchand De Feuilles Montréal-Paris in the next year or so.
I really loved talking about, and reading from, my novellas at the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt earlier this month. The whole Festival is lively and beautifully organized and it was wonderful to meet up with some old friends and to make a few new ones too.
August 4, 2016
A lovely piece in today’s The Local here on the Sechelt peninsula:
July 30, 2016
I’m really looking forward to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts on the weekend of August 11-14, in what might be the prettiest venue anywhere for a literary festival (or any other kind of festival, though our School of Music in Madeira Park is also awfully lovely and the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival takes place there the following weekend, August 18-21). My event is on Friday, August 12, at 2:30. I’m going to talk about, and read from, my 3 novellas: Inishbream, Patrin, and Winter Wren. Bev Shaw and her team from Talewind Books are the Festival booksellers and after each event, the reader spends time at the book table, signing copies of books. As a little celebration of novellas, I’m in the process of making blackberry jam (beauty and sweetness in small containers). For those who buy all three novellas at the Festival, I will include a jar of this year’s jam! If you do come to my reading, please say hello afterwards?
blackberry jam
July 12, 2016
Maybe it’s too early to announce this but it seems that Patrin will be published in a French edition by Marchand de Feuilles, in Montreal, in the near future. Very exciting to think of that novella, with its focus on boundaries, belonging, what’s lost (and found) in translation, among other things, being translated into the language of my grandson’s maternal family. The more things change, the more they stay the same. How would you say that in French? In Czech? In Romani? A few weeks after Patrin was published (in English), a man phoned me and asked (in the Romanichal language) if I was a Roma woman. I understood enough to know what I was hearing and also enough to know how much I could never understand. He’d found Patrin and assumed it was autobiographical. And in some ways it was. Is. But not that way. So no, I told him. But we had a long and lovely conversation about his boyhood as an English gypsy. Or Roma child. And he told me all the things I somehow knew about his family and their circumstances in a country that didn’t really want them.
On the Books page, I’ve linked to a wonderful review of Winter Wren, by the amazing Richard Pickard. Amazing? Yes. Because he reads deeply and intelligently and seems (always) to understand the book I hoped I was writing. Here’s the link again:
May 27, 2016
Not exactly in the realm of literary creation but perhaps more in the realm of past biological accomplishment; still, I was so proud to learn about this:
“• Brendan Pass, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Faculty of Science – received a Provost’s Award for Early Achievement of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the 2016 University of Alberta Awards for Teaching Excellence”
An interesting mathematical problem or at least a genetic one. How two writers (poets even!) produced Brendan….
May 20, 2016
I really enjoyed talking to Bob LeDrew this morning at CKCU-FM over at Carleton University. An intelligent interviewer who’d actually read Winter Wren! Yay!
May 13, 2016
My new book Winter Wren just arrived! If you are interested in ordering a copy (and for those who order sooner rather than later, I will include a letterpress keepsake, printed especially for this occasion!), go to
May 3, 2016
There are two wonderful summer festivals here on the Sunshine Coast and this year I’m involved with both of them. The Festival of the Written Arts is a terrific celebration of books and writers and is held at the beautiful  Rockwood Lodge and Gardens in Sechelt, with the readings taking place in a glorious open-sided pavillion. One year we went to a concert there (the Festival always concludes with a musical event, though this wasn’t one of those but an end-of-week concert featuring the instructors at a Celtic music summer camp I attended) and there was a robin nest on one beam. The young were singing away in their nest during the concert and the mother was providing obligato from the other side of the pavillion. I can’t promise this kind of music but there will be a little bit of birdsong during my presentation on Friday, August 12, at 2:30. I’ve linked to the Festival site above so you can read about the writers and see how to order tickets.
And since its inception in 2005  (with a little break on my part for a few years there), I’ve been involved with the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival, held the 3rd weekend in August, the weekend after the Festival of the Written Arts. This year, it’s August 18th – 21st, five ticketed concerts and one free event. Have a look at this summer’s musicians and the programme. It’s going to be fabulous.
April 1, 2016
The proof copy of Winter Wren is making its way across Georgia Strait as I type. I am really looking forward to seeing what magic Anik See has wrought with her design skills.
And the special news I’ve been alluding to isn’t really ready to announce just yet but I can offer this hint: what do you think Patrin would be in French??? (In 18 months, you will find out!)
March 21, 2016
If you’re in Vancouver on March 30th, my husband John Pass will be reading with Alexandra Oliver and Gary Gottfriedson as part of the Vancouver Writers Festival Incite Series at the Vancouver Public Library Main Branch. The evening will be hosted by Rachel Rose. For more information:
March 11, 2016
One of my favourite blogs,, has a lovely review of Patrin posted today. ( I’m always amazed to think of Patrin travelling around, finding readers.
And that special news I mentioned last week is a week closer to happening. I hope to be able to talk about it at the end of the month!
March 4, 2016
I do have a very special piece of news but must save it until the whole thing is confirmed. So a tease, a riddle! But in place of my own news, I’ll link to some recent interviews with my husband John Pass. His Forecast: Selected Early Poems came out in September from Harbour Publishing and there’s an interview with Amber McMillan at the Puritan Magazine’s Town Crier site:
And his poem “Margined Burying Beetle” recently won the Malahat Review’s 2016 Open Season Award for poetry. There’s a nice interview with him on Malahat Lite:
Oh, and look for Joan Givner’s very generous review of Patrin in the next issue of B.C. BookWorld, available free all over the place (bookstores, the B.C. Ferries) or by clicking on the new copy on the left-hand side of
February 14, 2016
I linked to my entry (well, mine and John’s!) on the Literary Map of BC before but the whole site is up now and makes for interesting reading!
February 8, 2016
There is the most wonderful review of Patrin today at Pickle Me This, Kerry Clare’s literary blog. I read Pickle Me This regularly for Kerry’s lively reviews, observations, and amazing breadth. As a (relatively) new grandparent, I love her joyous ongoing celebration of children’s books, new and old.
And our house is celebrating! John’s poem, “Margined Burying Beetle”, has won the Malahat Review’s Open Season Award for Poetry!
February 2, 2016
Doesn’t this sound like a great crowd to hang out with for a weekend in February???
galiano festival
For more information, go to their website. Hope to see you there!
December 18, 2015
The Galiano Literary Festival information is now posted. The Festival is in February — the 19th to the 21st. John and I have both been invited and we’re looking forward it!
I’m also really thrilled to be on the roster for the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Literary Arts, taking place next August 11th — 14th.
November 16, 2015
While we were on Salt Spring Island for a launch of Patrin and The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years, John and I stayed in the little cottage Mona Fertig and Peter Haase have created as a writers’ retreat on their property in Ganges. We were the first to sleep in it after its renovations and I have to say it was a pleasure (comfortable bed!) and also an inspiration to wake in the early hours to see the sunrise over the ocean just beyond the property. Here’s information about the retreat if you’re looking for a quiet place to write or dream:
And if you’re in Vancouver on November 26th, here’s an invitation to the double launch of Patrin and John’s Forecast: Selected Early Poems, 1970-1990:
for the 26thYOU ARE INVITED!
INFO: 250.537.4155
a novella
poetry (Harbour Publishing)
Thursday | November 26 | 7:30 pm
Cottage Bistro
4468 Main Street, Vancouver
Please join us at a double launch celebrating the latest books from
“Her new book is a jewel, beautiful to look at and
to hold.”
—vancouver sun
Forecast recovers early out-of-print work by Governor General’s Award-winning poet John Pass.
Plus open reading | Books for sale | Great food
Alisa Gordaneer
Still Hungry (Signature Editions) poetry

November 12, 2015

If you’re on the Sunshine Coast, you’re very welcome to come and help us celebrate these two books — Joe Denham’s Regeneration Machine and John Pass’s Forecast: Selected Early Poems 1970-1990 — at the Arts Centre in Sechelt at 7:00 p.m. (There’s a rumour of music, too, though I can’t promise anything just yet!)
November7, 2015
A wonderful review of Patrin in this morning’s Vancouver Sun!
November 3, 2015
Delighted to read this review this morning! My favourite line might be the first one: “Melancholy, plangent, luminous: in case of fire, break glass and release the adjectives, people!”
November 2, 2015
Remember to come and say hello if you’re on Salt Spring Island on November 7! I think it will be a very spirited event!
October 30, 2015
I’m not on Facebook but here’s a link to details about our reading next week at Russell Books in Victoria (November 5th, at 7:30 p.m.):
I love how our books look together — mine, John’s, and Sarah’s. It reminds me of the time Sarah spent with us here, a couple of days leading up to a reading she did in Sechelt, and how we all sat by the fire and talked, talked, talked. Talked about writing, food, the places we loved, social justice, rivers, poetry…
11214194_892189517500828_4420313987360384286_nAnd I’m so happy to see a review of Patrin in today’s Coast Reporter (the weekly newspaper here on the Sechelt Peninsula):
 October 29, 2015
If you’re in Vancouver, consider taking in the Wayzgoose, or printers’ fair, this Saturday (the 31st), at the Vancouver Public Library. John and I will be there, in our capacity as proprietors of High Ground Press. Here’s the poster with more details. (The Wayzgoose is a great place for early Christmas shopping. Think limited editions of books and prints, beautiful papers, ephemerae of the most interesting kind…):
October 25, 2015
October 11, 2015
It’s the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and our house is tucked into the trees, smoke rising from the chimney, and a huge squash is sitting on the worktable, waiting to be dealt with. In the meantime, if you’re in Victoria, why not come to a reading on November 5 to hear Sarah Deleeuw, John Pass, and me read from our new books at Russell Books on Fort Street?
October 7, 2015
A nice little piece about John’s new (old) book from BC Book Look:
and what I really like is the photo of John and me, taken in 1980. When Alan Twigg asked for an old photo (for another piece, in the works), I found this one. Were we ever that young? I still feel the same, though that particular house is long gone and so much has happened since…
jp & tk
September 24, 2015
An island in winter…Galiano Island, that is. Both John and I have been invited to the Galiano Literary Festival on Galiano Island in February. The Festival takes place February 19 – 21 and I’ll post further details when they’ve been confirmed.
A few more delights in the future which I’ll reveal as and when I have more details. In the meantime, if you’re around Vancouver Word on Library Square this weekend, come and say hello?

September 18, 2015

evite Patrin Sechelt Sept 19

September 3, 2015
Word Vancouver is a lively literary soiree held (mostly) in and around the grand central branch of the Vancouver Public Library over five days, from September 23-27 . Both John and I have been invited this year, for Sunday, September 27. If you’re around, come and say hello!
4:00 pm Ashley Little
VPL Writer in Residence
4:20 pm Alix Hawley (Adopted by: Pulpfiction Books)
All True Not a Lie in It (Knopf Canada $29.95)
4:40 pm Theresa Kishkan
Patrin (Mother Tongue Publishing $17.95)
John’s event is in something called the Poetry Bus. I’m thinking it won’t be hard to find!
A TWIST OF NATURE (Host: Rob Taylor, Poet)
3:45 pm Jeff Steudel (Adopted by: CUPE)
Foreign Park (Anvil Press $18.00)
4:00 pm Elena Johnson
Field Notes for the Alpine Tundra (Gaspereau Press $17.95)
4:15 pm John Pass (Adopted by: Pulpfiction Books)
Forecast: Selected Early Poems (1970–1990) (Harbour Publishing $18.95)

September 1, 2015
In a little over a week, I should have copies of Patrin in hand! And how nice to see it featured in B.C. Book World’s online presence today.
August 4, 2015
Look where Patrin is this week!
July 21, 2015
Consider yourself invited if you are able to attend any (or all!) of the following upcoming events. There are a few more things in the works which I’ll list when they’re confirmed. (October is blank because, a) we intend to be in and around Ottawa for part of that time, in our role as expectant grandparents, and b) some of those possible events are Ontario-based…)
  • August 21, 7 pm. Woodshed Series (UBC-Okanagan), Woodhaven Eco Cultural Centre, 969 Raymer Road, Kelowna (I’ll be reading from a number of books, Patrin included, though it won’t be released until September)
  • September 19, 7 pm. Coast launch for Patrin at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa Street, Sechelt
  • September 27, Word Vancouver Festival, Vancouver Public Library concourse, time and actual location of reading TBA
  • November 5, Russell Books, 734 Fort Street, with John Pass (Forecast) and Sarah de Leeuw (Skeena)
  • November 7, 8 pm, Lions’ Club, Salt Spring Island, launch for Patrin and Trevor Carolan’s The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years
  • November 26, Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street, Vancouver, as part of the Twisted Poet Reading Series, with John Pass

July 6, 2015
Patrin is hanging out in some great company today! (Setareh’s cover looks fabulous!)

June 22, 2015
new patrin coverPatrin, due out in September, is available for pre-order at the Mother Tongue website bookstore!

June 13, 2015
High summer — what better time to be in the Okanagan Valley? Lucky for me that UBC Okanagan has invited me to read as part of their Woodshed Series at the Woodhaven Eco Cultural Centre on August 21st. 7 p.m. The Woodhaven Eco Cultural Centre is located at 969 Raymer Road in the Lower Mission area of Kelowna.

June 1, 2015
It’s great to see Patrin on the Mother Tongue forthcoming page…
And it’s also great to report a little progress on the Fishgottaswim front. We have two forthcoming titles (but no date yet; printing is still being weighed and pondered) and it may come as no surprise that the first two novellas will be our own — Anik’s and mine — simply because we have them ready and can use them to test the waters. I’ve read hers — Cabin Fever — and it’s really wonderful. And mine — Winter Wren — is something I loved writing and hope it appeals to others too. Those of you who received a Christmas card from us this past season will recognize the printer’s mark we’re using:
fishgottaswimProvenance? The block came from a craft sale in the courtyard of St. James’s Church, Picadilly, a few years ago. We bought two little blocks and have used them both for Christmas cards. John found them difficult to work with but this one is so beautiful and I love what he did with the stars overtop.

I’ve been working on press releases for the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival and thought I’d share some of the information here. It’s the 11th annual Festival and takes place August 13-16 at the School of Music in Madeira Park on the Sechelt Peninsula. Who’s coming this summer? Artistic director and pianist Alexander Tselyakov has invited the celebrated Gryphon Trio (Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; Roman Borys, cello; Jamie Parker, piano) for a second visit. James Campbell, North America’s pre-eminent clarinettist, also returns, as does double-bassist Dylan Palmer. Violist Yariv Aloni (part of the very first Festival), cellist Pamela Highbaugh Aloni (Pamela was here last summer as a member of the Lafayette Quartet!), and violinist Terence Tam come to us from Victoria, and from Edmonton, horn player Allene Hackleman.
This year, we welcome three young musicians in the early stages of their careers: the Harbour’s own Rose-Ellen Nichols (who is establishing herself as a mezzo-soprano to be reckoned with), violinist Simon Gidora from Halfmoon Bay, and pianist Jenny Dou from the lower mainland. They’ll perform at a free concert we’re calling Rising Tide, on Friday, August 14th, at 1:30, a showcase for their talent, and then they’ll also join the other Festival musicians on Saturday the 15th at 1:30 p.m.
A Welcoming Sound will open the Festival on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. and will include a violin romance by Beethoven, a horn trio by Brahms, and the sublime Piano Trio No. 1 in B-flat major by Schubert. Friday evening’s These Sudden Stars (7:00 p.m.) features James Campbell and the Gryphon Trio’s performance of Olivier Messaien’s extraordinary Quartet for the End of Time, composed in Stalag Vlll-A in Silesia and first performed in 1941 to an audience of prisoners and guards.
On Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., Love and Other Serious Matters will enchant audiences with tangos by Piazzolla and Ben Moore’s Sexy Lady (sung by Rose-Ellen Nichols), among other delights. And that evening, at 7:00 p.m., Beauty Beyond Words explores the language of music – Beethoven’s Horn Sonata in F major, Op.17, followed by Mozart’s iconic Concerto in A major, K.622, and concluding with two Mendelssohn compositions, including the exquisite Song Without Words in D major, Op.109.
All good things come to an end and the Festival’s Wild Flourish on Sunday afternoon (1:30 p.m.) offers musical fireworks in the form of Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, Malcolm Arnold’s Sonatina Op. 29, Hummel’s Quintet in E flat, Op. 87, and, finally, the elegant Dohnányi Sextet in C major, Op. 37.
Ticket sales for the general public will begin June 12 and are available via the website — — or by phoning 604 989 3995.

February 16, 2015
It’s a date! The book launch for my novella, Patrin, that is…It’s been an exciting time looking at possible cover images for the book and now, because my publisher Mona Fertig at Mother Tongue Publishing is so organized and dedicated, we’ve even chosen a launch date. September 19th, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the Arts Centre in Sechelt, B.C. Come and help me celebrate not just this book but the novella form too! Good things come in small packages, after all.
final Patrin cover

 (Months later…The cover changed, didn’t it? But I still like this earlier version, too. That’s poet and photographer Diana Hayes’s tree image…)

January 27, 2015
I’m listening to my son right this minute speak to the notion of a national bird for Canada! (Click the panel À la recherche d’un oiseau national)

January 8, 2015
There’s a lovely review of Cascadia: The Life and Breath of the World, an issue of the literary journal Manoa devoted to the literatures of our western coast, in Geist 92. (I have a piece in the issue, “Marine Air: Thinking About Fish, Weather, and Coastal Stories”.)

December 19, 2014
My review of Gillian Wigmore’s wonderful novella Grayling is up at the Malahat Review site now (print version to follow):

December 2, 2014
Thrilled to see my interview with rob mclennan up at his site!

November 28, 2014
I loved seeing the promo material for this forthcoming title. (Scroll down to the table of contents and look at the final chapter!)
A Man In A Distant Field was published in 2004 by Dundurn.

November 21, 2014
A little update on my novella,  Patrin. Mona Fertig  at Mother Tongue Publishing ( has moved it up on her schedule which means it will now come out in fall, 2015! We’re talking about cover images and launch dates and I will keep you informed of those things on this page. On a slightly related note, I was really interested to see the number of novellas published in French when I was browsing bookstores in Quebec City over the past few days! There doesn’t seem to be the same reluctance to consider a brief narrative as a single well-designed (and marketed) volume!
In other news, I was really pleased to see that an issue of Manoa devoted to the writing of Cascadia has received some much-deserved attention:

Cascadia: The Life and Breath of the World (2013), a collection of environmental writing from the B.C./U.S. Pacific Northwest region, has been cited as a “Notable Special Edition 2013″ by the selectors of the annual Best American Essays in the U.S.

Guest-edited by Trevor Carolan, it includes work by writers, poets, and orators such as Hugh Brody, Wade Davis, Robert Bringhurst, Gary Snyder, Rex Weyler, Jan Zwicky, Susan Musgrave, Barry Lopez, Charles Lillard, Theresa Kishkan, Eve Joseph, John Schreiber and Red Pine. (From B.C. BookWorld)

November 3, 2014
In ten days we’ll be in Ottawa and Quebec and as well as having the pleasure of Forrest and Manon’s company (and their excellent hospitality!), we’ll get to see our granddaughter Kelly and her parents too. (Brendan is spending a month in Toronto doing whatever it is mathematicians do and his family will accompany him. They’re coming to Ottawa for a weekend…) I wonder if Kelly will be wearing this hat?
kelly in hat

October 9,2014
A lovely review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees at the delicious Buried in Print site:

October 2, 2014
No readings to alert you to but instead, a visit tomorrow to granddaughter Kelly and her parents in Edmonton. Here’s Kelly with her dad, in matching hoodies:
matching hoodies

September 23, 2014
My grand-baby Kelly at 9 weeks:
kelly in a onesie

September 6, 2014
I’m really happy to report that Mother Tongue Publishing will publish my novella Patrin in the spring of 2016. ( I’ve admired Mona Fertig for years. She has always gone her own way, publishing beautiful editions of work that the larger houses might not see as marketable. I’ve just finished writing a review of a Mother Tongue book — Gillian Wigmore’s novella Grayling —  for the Malahat Review and have to say that I’m excited to have my book sharing the publisher of such an original piece of writing.

July 11, 2014
I have bits and pieces of news which I’ll share soon — contract’s in the mail! And I was delighted to receive this poster from the Victoria Writers Festival where I was lucky enough to be invited last fall. This is part of their Literary Map of Victoria Project and as someone who was born in Victoria and who still writes her way back to its hills and beaches, its oak groves and old neighbourhoods, I was pleased to be included on the map.

 May 4, 2014

We’re going to Ottawa for a week and John will be reading with Pearl Pirie and Catherine Brunet at Pressed Cafe as part of the Railroad Reading Series. Come and say hello!Thursday, 7:30 PM, 15 May 14

at Pressed Café

750 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa

March 26, 2014

For years I’ve been involved as a volunteer with the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival, held in our small community on the third weekend of August. I do some of the writing for the Festival and am busy with press releases and brochure copy right now. But have a look at the programme for this year — it’s the 10th anniversary Festival and it’s going to be wonderful.

February 6, 2014

Two nice things this week…

A review of Sisters of Grass at this interesting site:

And Kathleen Jones in Italy used my Sappho translation as her Tuesday poem:

January 31, 2014

If you’ve been following the Federal Government’s dismantling of important fisheries archives, then you might want to sign the CWILA’s petition. Here’s a link:

November 7, 2013

There’s a review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees, written by Di Brandt,  in the latest issue of the Toronto Quarterly.  I can’t offer a link as the issue is available only via Project MUSE but I can give you the opening paragraph:

“In his influential book The Spell of the Sensuous, American philosopher/magician David Abram outlined a new way of thinking about the relationship between humans and the natural world, between human and animal ‘languages,’ and between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ generally, a relationship that hearkens back to older, more traditional ways of living in intuitive harmony and communication with surrounding ecosystems. We have lost our sense of intimate relationship with the earth and with a sense of ‘home,’ Abram observed, and need to learn to ‘re-inhabit place’ in our thinking, writing, and being. Theresa Kishkan’s lyrical memoir, written in deliciously rhythmic and light-filled poetic prose, admirably fulfills Abram’s instruction to ‘re-inhabit place’ in writing as a way of retrieving a sense of intimacy with nature and with the earth. (Abram observed that in traditional Indigenous thinking, memory is not stored in our brains but in the places themselves. Kishkan cites Cicero’s ancient technique of training the memory to organize rhetorical material for the purposes of oratory in imagined ‘places,’ but in fact her method is much closer to Abram’s in its deeply intuitive contacts with trees, birds, and small wild plants, which form a redolent, evocative, colourful surround for the remembered episodes of her life.)”

October 7, 2013

I was so pleased to get a note from Jeff McMahon, editor of Contrary, to tell me that “Olea europaea: Young Woman with Eros on her Shoulder” (first published in Contrary in their summer, 2010 issue), is one of the top ten pieces featured in the commentaries list for their tenth anniversary.

And for some reason, the entry I posted for September 24 keeps disappearing. Let me try again:

Poster Naturalist Club-legal

September 24, 2013

September 13, 2013

wayzgoose poster

John and I are participating in the Alcuin Society’s Wayzgoose at the Vancouver Public Library on October 5th; we’ll be enroute home from Newfoundland that day, stopping in Vancouver for the event. We run a small private press, High Ground Press, and we will be selling an assortment of publications, including sets of our Companion Series (2009) of broadsheets, a couple of chapbooks, some single broadsheets from our earlier two series, a new broadsheet printed specifically for this Wayzgoose, and various ephemera.

The Wayzgoose is a wonderful event. Printers, papermakers, writers, and other book-arts practitioners gathered together to show their work and answer questions and sell beautiful objects…If you come, do stop by our table and say hello.

August 27, 2013

As August comes to a close (and how did it happen so quickly? The later sunrises, the fast-falling light…?), I’m thinking about what’s to come this autumn. My calender is filling up! Two weeks in the Maritimes in late September, the Alcuin Society Wayzgoose on October 5th at the Vancouver Public Library, the Victoria Writers Festival on the weekend of October 19-20…My events at the VWF are on Saturday, the 19th, and are described this way:

Saturday, October 19, 11 a.m. Victorious Victoria: Capital and Lower Case, Readings with Marjorie Celona, Theresa Kishkan, Janet Rogers, Anny Scoones, Terence Young, Host Robert Weirsema.


 Saturday, October 19, 2:45 p.m. Root Memory: Trees, Bogs, and Memory. Readings and panel discussion with Maleea Acker, Ken Howe, Theresa Kishkan, George Szanto. With host Ken Wu.

Tickets go on sale on September 5th. For more information, visit the website:

I’ll be reading in Salmon Arm on October 27th and I will post more information on this event soon.

And just for fun (and to visit son Brendan who will be a visiting mathematician at Berkeley this fall), John and I will drive to California in November, taking the coast road down and exploring Sonoma, Napa, etc. Not exactly literary news but I’m sure we’ll spend time in book stores!

August 5, 2013

I recently had a lovely conversation with Andrea Cordonier about my book, Mnemonic: A Book of Trees,  via email and you can read it all this week at her blog:

July 13, 2013

For some years — with a break inbetween — I’ve been a member of the organizing committee for the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival. This is a lovely event, held on the third weekend of August (the 15th – 18th this year), in the beautiful School of Music in Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coast. The venue is part of a former Forestry complex — old buildings restored for community use. This is the ninth year of the Festival and it promises to be wonderful. For more information or for a peek at this year’s programme, go to the website:

chamber music 2012

June 6, 2013

I’m thrilled to find myself on this list of wonderful authors and books! (A link to the site:


THRiVE Reads… BC Authors

In collaboration with TRU Creative Writing department, we will be hosting THRiVE Reads, which is a celebration of BC Authors. Similar to CBC’s Canada Reads, we have had voting open for the last two months. Look below and find our top 6 choices.  Stay tuned for our schedule and congrats to all our winners!
Location: THRiVE Expo at TRU Campus Activity Centre
Times: Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23; schedule to come

1. Certainty (Madeleine Thien)
2. Eating Dirt (Charlotte Gill)
3. Sisters of Grass (Theresa Kishkan)
4. The Cellist of Sarajevo (Stephen Galloway)
5. The Sky is Falling (Caroline Adderson)
6. Turtle Valley (Gail Anderson-Dargatz)
For more information about Sisters of Grass, here’s a link to its page at Goose Lane Editions.
(I love the cover…)
sisters of grass

May 29, 2013

I’m very pleaed to have been invited to the Victoria Writers Festival in October! They’d asked me last year but it was the weekend of the party we were hosting so our west coast friends and family could celebrate Forrest and Manon’s Ottawa wedding so I had to decline. My event will be October 19th and I’ll post further information when I have it.

And I’ve also had an invitation to visit Salmon Arm for an event co-sponsored by the Shuswap Association of Writers and the Naturalists Society in October. What a lovely time to be in that part of the world!

May 14, 2013

A review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees in B.C. Studies!


May 2, 2013

Heading to the Island tomorrow for the 29th Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala at Government House in Victoria on Saturday evening. It’s always fun to see our literature celebrated and this year it will be good to stay at the wonderful Abbeymoore B&B across the road from Government House. I love walking in the camas meadow on the south side of the house itself.

camas meadow at Government House

April 14, 2013

Thrive! I was delighted to see that my first novel, Sisters of Grass (Goose Lane Editions), is one of the books featured on the Thrive Festival’s Read B.C. Authors page:

What an honour to see my novel included with the other books. If you are so inclined, you can vote for your favourite 6 books of those featured. Have a look and see if Sisters of Grass might be among your favourites! I’d be so pleased! (If you’ve read my novel, you’ll know that it’s set in the Nicola Valley, not far from Kamloops, and Kamloops is the setting for several important scenes. It’s a city John and I love. We were there most recently in early March and enjoyed some wonderful walks in the area as well as two sublime dinners, one at Terra and one at an old favourite, the Brownstone.)

March 22, 2013

This website is my one (nervous) foray into social media and I’m never sure I’m doing it correctly. But I’ve been given a link to a Facebook page for the Manoa Summer 2013 issue and will provide it here. (I’m not on Facebook so I have no idea how this works.)

March 15, 2013

Yesterday the B.C. Book Prize shortlists were announced. I was one of three jurors for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and have been reading the entries for that since the middle of December. It was a fascinating process and I think the fiction shortlist is really terrific, though one wishes it could have been longer…

The recipients of this year’s B.C. Book Prizes will be announced on Saturday, May 4, 2013, during the 29th Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala at Government House in Victoria.

March 9, 2013

I was so pleased to learn that Manoa at the University of Hawaii ( will reprint my essay, “Marine Air” in their Summer 2013 Cascadia issue. “Marine Air” first appeared in Manoa in 1998 ( For some reason, the essay hasn’t fit in my essay collections so I’m glad that it will have another chance to find readers. And Manoa is such a great journal.

February 11, 2013

The schedule for the Meacham Writers’ Workshop, held  on the campuses of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Chattanooga State Community College, is up now. John and I will be participating at a pre-conference reading on March 20th. We will also meet with Dr. Christopher Stuart’s class at the University of Tennessee during that week. I will add more details as I have them. Have a peek at our pages:

January 12, 2013

John and I will be visiting the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in late March to do readings and meet with students. Very much looking forward to that. We’ll go on from Chattanooga to New York for a few days and then spend the Easter weekend in Ottawa with Forrest and Manon, just in time for Forrest’s birthday. He’s beginning a new job in February, at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, so it will be great to visit his workplace!

December 20, 2012

This is the time of year to curl up by the fire with a stack of good books (and maybe a mug of hot rum). On our coast, we can count on rain more than we can count on most things. So how nice to find Mnemonic: A Book of Trees on Caroline Woodward’s Mid-Winter Monsoon Reading list over at the 49th Shelf site. Not only is a Caroline a terrific writer, but as a lighthouse keeper, with her partner Jeff, on a small island off the west coast of Vancouver Island, she knows something about weather too!

December 15, 2012

Ten days before Christmas: it’s an honour to be on Stephen Hume’s list of book suggestions for holiday gift-giving!

It makes me feel kind of shy when someone I admire as much as I admire Stephen Hume (I taught an essay of his in Brno last Februray and loved how the students responded to “A Walk with the Rainy Sisters” from his essay collection of the same name) says something like this about my work (but in the interests of ensuring readers of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees, I’m overcoming my shyness for a minute):

“Part memoir, part natural history, part lyrical personal essay, this is an unusual work that’s best described as a book for the true book lover. Kishkan, one of our best essayists who also happens to excel as a poet and novelist, braids her life — and ours — into the mysterious structures of human memory and the natural world. A mnemonic is an aid to remembering and Kishkan uses trees as waypoints in her luminous journey through the landscapes of art, myth, history, botany and personal recall. Each chapter in her narrative is organized around a different tree species and its unique attributes, which serve as symbolic resonating chambers for her imagination and the images that surface in the attempt at remembering. This is the kind of elegant and highly original book that leaves other writers, even good ones, feeling inadequate and clumsy. Look for it at”

December 13, 2012

For a little winter listening pleasure, here’s a sampler from the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival:

And Robin Ridington posted reviews of Sisters of Grass and Inishbream on his site. Wonderful to have such a generous reader!

October 29, 2012

There’s a wonderful review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees by Leigh Matthews of Thompson Rivers University in the latest issue of The Goose, the online journal of ALECC (Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada). — pages 101-102

And don’t forget, you’re welcome to come to my reading at Langara College on Wednesday, October 31st, at 2:30 pm in Rm A237, Langara College 100 W49 Ave Vancouver (A refers to the A building which is the building facing W49, between Main and Cambie, the doors being roughly adjacent to the main Sign).

October 10th, 2012

My review of Don McKay’s The Shell of the Tortoise in the Malahat Review issue, Essential East-Coast Writing, is online:

September 18th

I’ll be reading at Langara College in October. Here are the details.

When: 2:30 p.m. October 31

Where: Rm A237, Langara College 100 W49 Ave Vancouver (A refers to the A building which is the building facing W49, between Main and Cambie, the doors being roughly adjacent to the main Sign).

And next week we fly to Ottawa to attend (with bells on!) the wedding of our son Forrest and Manon Labelle on September 29th.

September 9, 2012

At the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival in August, I spent some time talking to Jillian and Robin Ridington. They’ve come every year (I think every year) since the first festival 8 years ago. I knew their name was familiar but somehow didn’t connect them with the Ridingtons whose work among the  Dane-zaa First Nations in the north-eastern part of British Columbia I’ve followed over the years.

I read their book, When You Sing It Now, Just Like New: First Nations Poetics, Voices and Representations, some time ago and other works, too — Blessing For A Long Time: The Sacred Pole of the Omaha, which Robin co-authored with Dennis Hastings. This is meticulous and respectful ethnology at its best. I was so honoured to have them bring some of my books to me at the Festival and ask me to sign them and even more honoured to have Robin’s email to say he’d reviewed two of them on his website.

They have a new book coming out this year with UBC Press, Where Happiness Dwells: A History of the Dane-Zaa First Nations. I very much look forward to reading it.

August 30, 2012

This strikes me as innovative! Festivals are such a great way to bring writers and readers together and I wish this initiative well!

August 17, 2012

Here’s a link to Michael Hayward’s review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees in the Geist summer issue.

July 29, 2012

I don’t have events to report, apart from the 8th annual Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival which I’ve been involved with in the past and am helping with again. August 16th – 18th, at the School of Music in Madeira Park, B.C. It’s always wonderful. The venue overlooks the harbour in this small coastal village, huge firs surround it, and audience members can look up from a particularly beautiful passage of Mozart to see eagles soaring in the clear sky or a float-plane coming in to the dock. Most of the concerts are sold-out but there’s a waiting list. For more information, visit the website:

In Gibsons yesterday, I picked up a copy of the summer issue of Geist and was delighted to see a review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees, by Michael Hayward. I don’t believe the review is available online ( but the whole issue is worth having. I was so happy to read the final two sentences: “There’s a wonderful sense of place throughout, and Kishkan’s observant curiosity makes you think of Forster’s exhortation in Howard’s End: ‘Only connect the prose and passion and both will be exalted.’ Mnemonic exalts.”

Our friend John Farrer took fabulous photographs at Brendan and Cristen’s wedding last weekend and uploaded them to this site:

June 1, 2012

People often ask me what my children are up to these days. They grew up here on the Sunshine Coast and went off to university. We love their visits home!

Forrest completed doctoral studies in history at the University of Western Ontario and went to work for the Canadian Heraldic Authority in Ottawa. This is a fascinating branch of the Governor General’s office and you can read about it here:

Forrest is the Saguenay Herald and his partner Manon Labelle is the Miramichi Herald. Right now they’re in London for the Queen’s Jubilee. They’ll participate in a number of events but this one looks really interesting!

Brendan finished doctoral studies in mathematics at the University of Toronto and is currently a Max Wyman Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Alberta. His partner Cristen Frith Adams holds a PhD in atmospheric physics, also from the University of Toronto, and is currently doing post-doctoral work.

Brendan has a busy summer with conferences in Banff, Chicago, Paris, and Bonn. And he will be receiving the Cecil Graham Doctoral Dissertation Award at the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society’s Annual General Meeting in June!

Angelica is finishing her Master’s thesis in Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria and working as a project officer for the Land Conservancy of Canada. Her areas of responsibility include the wonderful Craigflower Manor: ;

and Ross Bay Villa where she’s really enjoyed working on the creation of an oil cloth for the entrance hall. You can see a video of this here:

She’s also organizing a Canada Day lawn party which sounds wonderful. For more information about it, go here:

Brendan and Cristen are getting married in Victoria in late July and Forrest and Manon will marry in Ottawa in late September so it will be a summer of wedding bells. Can’t wait!

May 23, 2012

There was a nice reprise of the B.C. Book Prizes Gala on Sheryl MacKay’s weekend morning show, North By Northwest.  Sheryl talks to author J.J. Lee, whose memoir, The Measure of the Man, was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Prize for Non-Fiction, and who was possibly the best-dressed man there.

And I’ll be participating on the Eco-Writing: New Leaves panel discussion at the OnWords Conference and Annual General Meeting of The Writers’ Union of Canada at  The Holiday Inn Downtown Vancouver, located at 1110 Howe Street, on Friday, May 25th at 1:45 p.m. The other panelists are Clea Roberts and Harry Thurston and the moderator is Brian Brett. Please come and say hello!

May 13, 2012

Last night we attended the B.C. Book Prizes Gala in Vancouver, a splendid celebratory occasion for British Columbia`s writers, publishers, book-sellers, and literary community in general. John won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize! This was the third time a book of his was shortlisted and it was wonderful to hear his name read out and then to listen to him give a brief gracious acceptance speech! It was stellar shortlist — Sharon Thesen`s Oyama Pink Shale, Susan McCaslin`s Demeter Goes Skydiving, Patrick Lane`s Collected Poems, and Garry Thomas Morse`s Discovery Passages, as well as John`s crawlspace.

My Mnemonic: A Book of Trees was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Prize for Non-Fiction and that prize went to Charlottè Gill for her book, Eating Dirt. As they say, it was an honour to be chosen for the list and to have my book spend time on a shortlist with four other terrific titles.

Here`s the winner in our family!

May 7, 2012

I hope people will join us tonight at the Pender Harbour School of Music in Madeira Park for an event sponsored by Blue Waters Book Company! John and I are really looking forward to reading on our home ground and talking to old friends as well as meeting new ones. I’m in the process of baking cookies for it right now — shortbread trees with fresh rosemary (for remembrance).

And here’s the dope on the B.C. Book Prizes Gala!

Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala 2012

Event Date(s)

Saturday, May 12, 2012


The Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
SFU Woodwards
149 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

Event Description

The 28th Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala will take place May 12, 2012, at The Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema at SFU Woodwards, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in downtown Vancouver.

The Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala is a celebration of finalist authors, illustrators and publishers. The recipients of the 2012 book prizes will be announced and the ninth annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence will be presented.

Author, activist, and comedian Charles Demers will host the evening festivities.

Tickets will be available for pick up at the venue beginning at 7:00 pm and light refreshments will be available in the lobby area.

Doors to the theatre will open at 7:30 pm and the Awards Ceremony will begin at 8:00 pm. The ceremony will be just over 1 hour long, followed by a Celebration Reception in the lobby area.

The post-awards reception will include a cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. The event is expected to wrap up around 11:00 pm.

Tickets are $60 each with assigned seating. Tickets are not mailed and will be available at Will Call.

May 1, 2012

Just a reminder that I’ll be reading in the Robson Reading Series (UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Plaza level, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7) on Thursday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m.  The other reader for the evening is the wonderful Stephanie Bolster. Please come out and support this great series! And if we haven’t met, please introduce yourself!

April 27, 2012

April 16th, 2012

Dale and Michael Jackson of Bluewaters Books in Madeira Park have invited John and I to read on May 7th at the Pender Harbour School of Music. We will both read from our B.C. Book Prizes shortlisted titles — my Mnemonic: A Book of Trees (shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize) and John’s crawlspace (shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize). The reading begins at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to read in our own community where we’ve made our home for 30 years.

April 5, 2012

A nice review in Canadian Literature!

March 19, 2012

I’ll be giving a talk at the Women’s Arboriculture Conference at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort near Parksville on Vancouver Island this coming Wednesday. There’s a great line-up of speakers on everything from ecology to ethnobotany to tree care. Have a look at the website:

March 14, 2012

I’ll be reading in the Robson Reading Series (UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Plaza level
Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7) on Thursday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m.  The other reader for the evening is the wonderful Stephanie Bolster. Please come out and support this great series! And if we haven’t met, please introduce yourself!

And Corey, the formidable publicist at Goose Lane, told me about this review at All Points West. I just listened to it while watching the big firs south of our house bend in the wind…—talking-trees-1/

March 8, 2012

I’m in an attic studio in Bloomsbury this week, which feels very far from home. But I’ve just discovered that Mnemonic: A Book of Trees has been shortlisted for a B.C. Book Prize — the Hubert Evans Prize for Non–Fiction! It’s a great shortlist; along with Mnemonic, the books are Carmen Aguirre’s Something Fierce, Charlotte Gill’s Eating Dirt, JJ Lee’s The Measure of a Man, and Gary Geddes’ Drinking the Bitter Root. An honour to be among them, and to be considered for a book named for Hubert Evans, whose Mist on the River is one of the great books about British Columbia.

The other good news is that John’s crawlspace has been shortlisted for the Dorothy LivesayPoetry Prize! For more information about the B.C. Book Prizes, go to

February 11, 2012

I woke in Brno this morning to find a good review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees at the Maple Tree Literary Supplement. Here’s the link:

January 27, 2012

In ten days we leave for five weeks in Europe.  Our trip will be bracketed by London – two nights at the beginning and five nights at the end. The rest of the time we will be in the Czech Republic. I can’t wait! We were in the CR in the fall of 2010 and loved our stay there. I felt like I’d found my people, my tribe, and in some ways it must be true. My father’s mother was born in Horni Lomna in 1881 or 1883 – her birth certificate and naturalization papers disagree on the year.

First we’ll head to Brno where we’re teaching an intensive week-long course on west coast writing at Masaryk University. This has been arranged by the gracious Katka Prajznerova and she invited us to decide on content. I’ll introduce students to non-fiction prose in the mornings in a series of classes I’ve titled “Voices from the Salish Sea”. John takes over in the afternoon with poetry: “Wave to Watershed”. We’ll be reading together one evening at the Moravian National Library, too.

From Brno, we go to Olomouc where we’ll be reading at the university there and exploring what promises to be a beautiful city, with Gothic churches and the baroque Holy Trinity column, a tiny chapel of St. Jan Sarkander, and museums galore.

Then to Ostrava where John will participate in a poetry festival (several of his poems have been translated into Czech and will be read in English by him and in Czech by the translator) and where we will meet with Petr Kopecky’s class to give the students a condensed version of our series in Brno as well as reading from our work.

While in this area, we will also visit Roznoz with Petr and his partner Lenka and we will travel to Stramberk with our friends Zuzka and David. They have even offered to take us to Horni Lomna.

Plans are firming up for a stay in Prague with some readings and presentations, possibly even further afield in other parts of Bohemia.

And when we return, it’s only a matter of a week or so until the Women’s Arboriculture Conference, March 21-23, at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort on Vancouver Island where I’ll be giving a reading and presentation from Mnemonic: A Book of Trees. Visit their website to see what other speakers are participating.  It sounds really wonderful.


January 13, 2012

A wonderful review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees this morning.


December 22, 2011

Corey at Goose Lane just sent me this review from London’s lively The Scene. Christmas is definitely around the corner!

GOOSE LANE, 2011 • 247 PAGES
Most books are easily classifi ed. It’s either fiction or non-fiction; biography, essays,
poetry, true crime, mystery, fantasy or sci-fi ; it deals with culture or history, science or
technology. Mnemonic: A Book of Trees by Canadian author Theresa Kishkan eludes
such easy defi nition. Certainly, it is a memoir, woven together from Kishkan’s impressions,
recollections and personal anecdotes. But the personal only provides context,
or perhaps more accurately, a lens through which to view other bits of information.
This information – comprised of botanical and scientifi c fi eld observations, arboreal
data, regional, national and international histories, as well as the author’s own
earned wisdom – are the branches from the trees rooted in Kiskan’s memory. She
explains her writing process early on, citing the work of the classical Roman statesman
Cicero on how to train one’s memory by using a method of loci. “By memorizing
the architectural space of a particular building and by attaching elements of a speech to particular features of the
building and forming an image of the two, a structural mnemonic is created,” Kishkan writes, before explaining how
whenever she tried to use the method, trees would come to mind instead of buildings. Whether discussing the olive
trees of Knossos, Crete where she once lived or the displaced quercus virginiana she knew as a child growing up in
BC, Kishkan’s mnemonic exercise and the result – ie, this book – is the consequence of her own evolving, unfolding
perspective, told in wonderfully unadorned prose. Like the trees she so loves, her book is a living work.
~ Chris Morgan


December 21, 2011

Nice to be on a Best-Of list!


December 13, 2011

A wonderful review of Mnemonic at Pickle Me This, Kerry Clare’s lively blog.


December 11, 2011

My list of private press books is up at the Canadian Bookshelf this morning. I love this site for its spaciousness and capacity for widening the conversation about Canadian books.


December 9, 2011

There’s a nice piece on Mnemonic: A Book of Trees in our local newspaper today.

And I also would like to add a link to the Women’s Arboriculture Conference in March to which I’ve been invited. The organizer, Verna Mumby, came to the reading John and I did at Coho Books in Campbell River the week before last so it was excellent to put a face to her name — we’ve been corresponding since late summer about the conference. I’m really looking forward it.


November 29, 2011

A lovely review of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees at Richard Pickard’s site today:


November 18, 2011

The interview I did with Ramon Kubicek is featured on the Branta blog today!

And please don’t forget to join us during the Autumn Leaves tour on Vancouver Island next week! Details are posted below.


November 11, 2011

I wrote a little piece about the book launch as a Post on this site.  Just click on Posts on the menu on the right-hand side of the home page.

And I was delighted to see Mnemonic featured on the Canadian Bookshelf page this week:


November 6, 2011

A reminder: my new book, Mnemonic: A Book of Trees, will be launched in Sechelt at the Arts Centre on Tuesday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come! There will be a short reading from the book, lots of nice things to eat, and Bev Shaw of Talewind Books will have copies of Mnemonic available for purchase. I’ll happily sign them! Hope to see you there!


November 2, 2011

Consider yourselves invited! Or evited?


October 24, 2011

John and I will be reading on Vancouver Island in late November. The delightful Colleen Kitts, acting publicist at Goose Lane Editions, is calling this the Autumn Leaves Tour. We’d love to see you at any (or all!) of these events! If we haven’t met, please introduce yourselves.

Mnemonic: a book of trees, by Theresa Kishkan, Goose Lane Editions

crawlspace, by John Pass, Harbour Publishing

November 22, 2011

Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo Harbourfront

90 Commercial Street, Nanaimo, BC

6:30 pm


November 23, 2011

Vancouver Island Regional Library

Sidney/North Saanich Branch

10091 Resthaven Drive, Sidney, BC


7:00 pm

November 24, 2011

Vancouver Island Regional Library

Cowichan Branch,

2687 James Street, Duncan, BC


6:30 pm

November 26, 2011

Coho Books

1074 Shoppers Row, Campbell River, BC


11:00 am


October 23, 2011

Ramon Kubicek sent some interesting interview questions last week and the results are now up on his website:

Have a look at his blog too while you’re there. Lots to think about!


October 19, 2011

Susan Olding has a terrific essay on the essay (bless her) at the Canadian Bookshelf site. She quotes Virginia Woolf: “What art can the essayist use…to sting us wide awake and fix us in a trance which is not sleep but rather an intensification of life—a basking, with every faculty alert, in the sun of pleasure?” asks Virginia Woolf. “He must know—that is the first essential—how to write.” There’s even a generous mention of Mnemonic!

And Mnemonic has its first review…


October 18, 2011

Check this out! A beautiful trailer for Mnemonic!


October 15, 2011

I write from Penticton where John read last evening at the wonderful Hooked on Books and where he asked me to read a passage from Mnemonic: A Book of Trees. It’s been a great ramble through the province, into Alberta, and the readings were really a great way to meet people and introduce our books to them.

I’d like to extend an invitation to readers to attend the book launch for Mnemonic on November 8 at the Arts Centre in Sechelt at 7 p.m.


October 1, 2011

John and I are heading off on a roadtrip on Tuesday, with Edmonton as our ultimate destination. We’re looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with Brendan and Cristen; we’re taking them a case of Okanagan wine as a house-warming gift (much more interesting to choose than a microwave or toaster…).

Enroute to Edmonton and on the way home, John will be reading in a number of places:

October 4 — Kamloops: Kamloops Library, 7pm
~ 100-465 Victoria Street, Kamloops,
October 5 — Jasper: Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts, 7pm.
~ 631 Patricia Street, Jasper
~ Part of their Arts With Altitude Festival
October 11 — Banff: Banff Library, 7pm
~ 101 Bear Street, Banff,
October 12–Trail: Trail & District Public Library, 7pm
~ 1051 Victoria Street, Trail,
October 13 — Castlegar: Selkirk College, noon
October 14 — Penticton: Hooked on Books, 7pm
~ 225 Main Street, Penticton, BC

We’d originally hoped to read together but then it seemed that my new book, Mnemonic: A Book of Trees, wouldn’t arrive until late in October. I’m entirely happy to be part of the audiences along the way, listening to John read from crawlspace, and meeting new friends and old. As it turns out, my book is winging its way to me as I write this and so there may be an opportunity to introduce it and perhaps even sell copies to anyone who is interested in having one hot off the press. (For a sneak peek, visit this link to the book on Goose Lane Edition’s website:


September 5, 2011

I’m posting the promotional information about my new book, due in bookstores on October 7.  To book readings or other events, you can either contact Corey Redekop at Goose Lane Editions or me (coordinates on my contact page).



A Book of Trees

Theresa Kishkan

Warm, imaginative, and thoroughly original, novelist and essayist Theresa Kishkan intertwines the mysteries of trees with the defining moments in life in a stunningly original memoir. For Kishkan, trees are memory markers of life, and through the pages of Mnemonic: A Book of Trees she explores the presence of trees in nature, in culture and in her personal history.

Naming each chapter for a particular tree — the Garry oak, the Ponderosa pine, the silver olive, and others — Kishkan draws from various strands of mythology from classical and contemporary sources to blend scientific fact with natural history and the artifacts of human culture, exploring Kishkan’s personal past within a botanical/historical context. What takes place among the trees is a life — childhood, young womanhood, marriage, the building of a house, raising children, writing books. Scholarly and archival material informs the botanical observations, evoking her sense of the landscapes of her past being that are in some ways adjacent and beneath their contemporary counterparts. These landscapes are like transparencies, one overlaid another, memory serving to shift the focus so that one sees all that a place has been, with both depth and a sense of loss.

Never pedantic, always accessible, Mnemonic reveals — through one woman’s relationship with the natural world — how we all have roots that intertwine with the broader world, tapping deep into the rich well of universal themes. In the words of Pliny the Elder, “Hence it is right to follow the natural order, to speak about trees before other things . ..”


ISBN 13: 9780864927064 pb

9780864927064 e

$19.95 / 260 pp / 5.5 x 8.5 / pb

Pub Date: October 2011 (Canada)

November 2011 (U.S.)


Theresa Kishkan is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose. Her essays have appeared inMemewar, Dandelion, Lake, Contrary, The New Quarterly, Cerise, and many other magazines and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Relit Award, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and the Hubert Evans Prize for NonFiction. Her collection of essays, Phantom Limb, won the first Readers’ Choice Award from the Canadian Creative NonFiction Collective in 2009. An essay from Mnemonic won the 2010 Edna Staebler Personal Essay Prize.


For review copies, author interviews, or publication excerpts, please contact Corey Redekop at or call (888) 926.8377.

Highres book cover and author image files are available at


August 15, 2011

The summer passes with its pleasures and its distractions — watering, short trips away to Vancouver Island or the Interior or Vancouver for a lovely production of Henry Purcell’s opera King Arthur. My brothers and I are planning a family gathering at Long Beach next week to release our parents’ ashes to the weather and ocean, all our children, their partners, and in some cases (though how can this be???) grandchildren together for the first time in many years. I predict lots of laughter, tears, jokes, huge meals (I bought two magnums of champagne to take along to celebrate my parents), and hopefully some long walks on those beautiful haunted beaches where I went for the first time when I was 17. You can read about my love of that wild coast in the essay, “Undressing the Mountains”, in my book, Red Laredo Boots.

As for news: my book, Mnemonic: A Book of Trees, is due out from Goose Lane Editions in early October. I will post information about its launch and readings as details emerge.

My friend Barbara Lambert, a wonderful fiction writer, has inaugurated a series at her website in which she asks writers to comment on rejected work or else material that somehow needed to be edited out of a published story or book. I contributed a brief piece on a passage from Mnemonic: A Book of Trees and am grateful that I didn’t have to abandon it completely, thanks to Barbara and her Dr. Johnson’s Corner. I look forward to her forthcoming novel, The Whirling Girl, due out from Cormorant in 2012. I had the pleasure of reading early drafts of this book and know that it’s a vibrant and gloriously written novel, full of botanical art, the Etruscans, and love in the verdant hills of Tuscany.


June 19, 2011

John’s new book, crawlspace, has just been published by Harbour Publishing and is being launched tomorrow evening, June 20th, at the Arts Centre in Sechelt at 7:30. Everyone is welcome! Refreshments will be served.

We’re heading up to the Yukon on Thursday for the Whitehorse Poetry Festival, taking place from June 24 – 26. The featured poets, along with John, are Elizabeth Bachinsky, bill bissett, Miranda Pearson, Clea Roberts, David Seymour, Karen Solie, and Rhea Tregebov. Check out the Festival’s website for more information:

After the Festival, we’re going to spend an extra week in the Yukon and Alaska, exploring Dawson, Skagway, taking the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway, and a few other places. Can’t wait!


May 24, 2011

Congratulations to my son, Brendan, for successfully defending his PhD dissertation, “Structural results on optimal transportation plans” last week, thus bringing to a close his years of graduate studies in Mathematics at the University of Toronto. He and his girlfriend Cristen Frith Adams are off to Edmonton in June so that Brendan can take up an appointment in the Math department at the University of Alberta. Cristen will move back and forth between Edmonton and Toronto while she completes her PhD in Physics.

Brendan at lunch with his dad and sister at the Old Boot in Sechelt over the Christmas holiday.

Brendan and Cristen in Toronto a few summers ago…


March 4, 2011

I’m delighted to provide a link to the journal, Cerise, which features an essay of mine in the Spring issue.

I really like Cerise and am thrilled to be included in this issue and I love that they asked for photographs of our house to include with my essay.


February 10, 2011

There’s an interview with me at the New Quarterly this morning.


February 3, 2011

My book, Mnemonic: A Book of Trees, will be published by Goose Lane Editions in the fall of 2011 and so I’m just beginning the editing process with Akoulina Connell. She has me thinking about illustrations – how many, what kind – and lots of other stuff that I haven’t needed to consider before with novels and collections of personal essays. Mnemonic is a memoir as well as an exploration of certain trees in nature, culture and my own personal history. I’ve used images throughout as little mnemonics to myself but would they have any meaning to readers? Hmmm. Stay tuned.

One of the essays from Mnemonic, “Olea europaea: Young Woman with Eros on her Shoulder”,  appeared in Contrary in this past June. You can read it here: I was delighted to learn that the essay has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Another essay, “Arbutus menziesii: the Make-up Secrets of the Byzantine Madonnas”, won the New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Personal Essay Prize and appeared in issue 116 of TNQ. I’m thrilled that it’s now been nominated for a National Magazine Award.

In event news, my husband John Pass and I have been invited to the Shuswap Writers’ Festival, held in Salmon Arm on the weekend of May 27-29, 2011. John has also been invited to the Whitehorse Poetry Festival in June and I’ll be tagging along. We hope to explore a little of the Yukon after the festival.

In October, John and I were guests of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. I participated in a round-table discussion which opened a conference on transgressive auto/biography and John gave a poetry reading at the Moravian National Library. Here are links to videos of both events. (I arrived in Brno from Bratislava with a virus that completely took away my speaking voice….that explains the croaking.) (John Pass’s reading) (the round-table discussion)

This is me in Brno after an amazing night of opera at the Reduta Theatre (where Mozart performed at the age of 11…).

This is John, after his reading in Brno, at dinner with Katka, Zuzka, and Amanda.

Summer Book full cover alt.jpg