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Athabasca University

Jack Hodgins

Photo of Jack Hodgins

British Columbia native Jack Hodgins is best known for his novels The Invention of the World and The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne particularly because of his use of magical realism. He has been recognized with many awards ranging from the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, the Governor General’s Award, and the Canada-Australia Prize. He has received honorary degrees from several Canadian universities and was made a Member of the Order of Canada. His many novels and short stories have received wide critical acclaim in Canada, Australia and beyond.

Jack Hodgins was born on Vancouver Island in 1938, and later studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia under the guidance of poet Earle Birney. He graduated with a B. Ed in 1961 and went on to teach high school in Nanaimo until 1981. Between 1981-83, Hodgins was a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa and since 1983 taught in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of Victoria until his retirement in 2003. Much of Hodgins’ writing has been influenced by the Comox Valley; which is his birthplace and a popular setting for many of his novels. His first successful publication was Spit Delaney’s Island (1976), a collection of short stories. Many of Hodgins’ narratives deal with sad characters who are eccentric yet true to life. The short stories in Spit Delaney’s Island mix these dejected characters who are limited mentally to what their eyes can see with escapist type characters who are more unconventional and intriguing in their ways. Following Spit Delaney’s Island are the novels The Invention of the World (1977) and The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne (1979) which remain the two most successful works by Hodgins.

Hodgins has also written a children’s book called Left Behind in Squabble Bay (1988) and has edited a number of anthologies. His book, A Passion for Narrative: A Guide for Writing Fiction (1993) is the only fiction-writing text produced in Canada (as of 2010); the rest are all American. He continues to write fiction with the short story collection Damage Done By the Storm (2004) and the novel The Master of Happy Endings (2009). Since his retirement he has continued to reside in Victoria, B.C. and occasionally gives lectures on creative writing and attends the annual writing workshop held in Mallorca, Spain. The University of British Columbia honored Hodgins with a plaque in 1990 to commemorate him as one of the 75 most distinguished graduates for the university’s 75th anniversary. He was also one of ten Canadian authors honored at Les Belles Etrangers Festival in Paris, France in 1996. (J.McKay)


1977 - Won the Eaton’s B.C. Book Award for Spit Delaney’s Island

1978 - Won the Gibson’s First Novel Award for The Invention of the World

1979 - Won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction for The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne

1986 - Won the Canada-Australia Prize

1988 - Won the Commonwealth Literature Prize for The Honorary Patron

1996 - Won first place in Neville Shanks Memorial Award for Historical Writing for Finding Merville

1999 - Elected to the Royal Society of Canada

2000 - Won the Ethel Wilson Prize for fiction in British Columbia for Broken Ground

2000 - Won the Torgi Talking Book of the Year for Broken Ground

2006 - Given the Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia

2006 - Given the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence

2009 - Made a member of the Order of Canada

Updated February 12 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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