I was born in North Vancouver, BC, with the roar of Lynn Canyon my constant companion. I attended University of British Columbia (theatre, education) and University of Victoria, graduating with a B.A. in English with distinction. My life has been an alternating round of solitary reflection and public performing (and all the bits in between). I call myself a “serial artist” since I move among different genres at different times in my life.

As a writer and editor I’ve worked in journalism, public relations, government policy, education, and the arts. As a creative writer, in the genres of poetry, fiction, flash fiction, non-fiction and libretto—whatever form the muse dictates. As a classically trained vocalist, I’ve performed in both the classical and jazz worlds, singing in the Pacific Opera Chorus, in vocal ensembles, as a soloist with orchestra and in jazz combos. I have also composed several art songs based on my own and others’ texts. More recently, I’ve collaborated as a lyricist and librettist. Recent works include text for a song cycle based on the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a comic chamber opera libretto, and text for a song cycle based on the theme of a mystical night journey.

My short story collection Music from a Strange Planet debuted in 2021 to critical acclaim. My writing has been published nationally and internationally. Achievements include Fiction Finalist in the 2020 National Magazine Awards; Winner of the 2017 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition; Double Longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize; Winner of both the Federation of BC Writers Literary Contest (Flash Fiction) 2021 and 2022, their Literary Writes Contest (Prose Poem) 2018; and Shortlisted for the 2021 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.

In addition to ink on my fingers, I often have dirt under my nails and bits of plants in my hair. My garden is a physical reflection of my writing: a place where order and disorder, growth and decay coexist, the place where the unconscious processes, so vital to writing, can unfold. I see the garden itself as living poetry, a canvas where I can shape and design, observe changes through the season, but where nature also asserts its own ideas or where inspiration goes sideways, producing unexpected results.

I sideline as an occasional collagist and motorcyclist, tackling twisties on my beloved Triumph Street Triple. Victoria, British Columbia, on Canada’s beautiful west coast, is my home.

Barbara Black CV