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Program(s): Creative Writing - Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry

Dianne Warren

Dianne Warren was born in Ottawa, Ontario. Her mother grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan and worked in Ottawa during the 1940s. Her father, a World War II veteran, was from a small lumber town in the Ottawa Valley. Her parents met in Ottawa after the war, married, had two babies, and then moved to Saskatchewan. Although the family travelled back to Ottawa every few years to visit that side of the family, the extended family that Dianne grew up with was her mother’s family, who remain farm and ranch people. She spent as much time as possible with her grandparents on the farm and grew up loving the prairie landscape.

Dianne does not remember a time that she didn’t love books and she began writing as soon as she learned to read. As a child, whenever she was asked what her hobbies were she would say, reading and horses. Every family trip to Ottawa included a visit to the National Gallery of Canada, and in high school she developed an additional interest in visual art.

She studied art at university and graduated with a degree in Fine Arts. She continued writing during those years, although in isolation and without the benefit of mentors or writing friends. About the time that she turned thirty, she decided she needed to learn more about writing. She took some writing classes through the English Department at her local university, and met several published and emerging writers that remain friends and colleagues to this day. She was invited to join a writing group called The Bombay Bicycle Club and the diligence with which its members approached the art of literary critique set her on the path to becoming a published writer.

Her first book, The Wednesday Flower Man, was published in 1987 by the burgeoning Saskatchewan press Coteau Books. Two more story collections followed: Bad Luck Dog in 1993 and A Reckless Moon in 2002. She has a soft spot for Bad Luck Dog because it won the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award about the same moment that Joe Carter hit the home run that won the Toronto Blue Jays the World Series. The room at the Saskatchewan Book Awards erupted in cheers (for Joe Carter).

She also wrote three stage plays in those years, all of which were produced by 25th Street Theatre in Saskatchewan. Her play Serpent in the Night Sky was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for drama in 1989. She no longer writes plays.

Her first novel Cool Water was published in 2010 in Canada and in 2012 in the US (as Juliet in August). She claims to have been working on this book her whole life since it is informed by the iconography of the western books and movies she grew up with, and the shadow of the past in the novel is, in a sense, her family’s past.

Dianne lives in Regina, Saskatchewan with her husband, visual artist Bruce Anderson. They have two sons. She is currently at work on a new novel. Her hobbies are still reading and horses.

Find out more about Dianne at her website, diannewarrenauthor.com.

Dianne Warren