Betsy Warland

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Betsy Warland (born 1946 in Fort Dodge, Iowa) is a Canadian writer and poet.


Warland obtained a Bachelor of Arts in art and education at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Warland immigrated to Canada in 1972. In 1975, she initiated the Toronto Women's Writing Collective, which lasted until 1981, and offered peer-writing groups, publications and featured Adrienne Rich, Nicole Brossard, May Sarton, Audrey Thomas, Margaret Atwood and Marge Piercy in Writers in Dialogue. In 1980, Warland became a Canadian citizen and three years later, in 1983, Warland initiated and was co-organizer (with Victoria Freeman) of the Women and Words/Les Femmes et les Mots conference in British Columbia. The conference brought together over 1,000 women from across the country involved in all aspects of the literary written word. The book In the Feminine: Women and Words Conference Proceedings was co-edited by Marlatt, Warland, Freeman, Pulling and Dybbikowski and published in 1985.

Warland was executive director of the Federation of BC Writers, one of the largest writer's associations in Canada, from 1986 to 1987 during which the annual literary competition Literary Writes was established. Involved in the development of arts in general, Warland also contributed to the Special Council Committee of the Arts for the Vancouver City Council at that time.[1][2][3] Warland co-edited the proceedings from the Simon Fraser University 1988 pivotal conference Telling It: Women and Language Across Cultures with Daphne Marlatt (conference organizer), and two of the other featured writers, Lee Maracle and Sky Lee.

Much of Warland's contributions to literature have been in the form of essays (and collections thereof), memoirs, and poetry books relating to feminism, women's studies and lesbian issues. In 1991, Press Gang Publishers produced InVersions: Writing by Dykes, Queers and Lesbians, a collection of essays by Canadian and American writers, edited by Betsy Warland.[1][4] Her nonfiction books Bloodroot – Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss (2000) and Breathing the Page – Reading the Act of Writing (2010) are among her most popular books.

From 1993 to 1994, Warland was the writer in residence at the Saskatoon Public Library, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This position was in partnership with the Saskatoon Public Library and the Canada Council.[5] An active member of the Writers' Union of Canada, Warland served on the TWUC's National Council (2009–2012). In 2004, along with Myrna Kostash, Warland co-founded the Creative Nonfiction Collective and has served on its board.

Warland is the director of the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive.[6] Dedicated to emerging writers, Warland is also the former director of the Writer's Studio, a certificate in creative writing program that is part of Simon Fraser University's Writing and Communications Program (2000 -2011). Warland is on faculty in both programs.

Warland is perhaps most known for her language-focused writing and ways of working with silence. Currently, Warland is working on a lyric prose manuscript Oscar of Between.

Warland's personal documents, interviews, photographs and manuscripts acquired in 1996 and 2008 currently reside in the Library and Archives Canada's literary archives.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Warland, Betsy – Collections Canada (accessed 2010-01-10).
  2. ^ Betsy Warland: Biography Archived May 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. – Autobiography by Betsy Warland (accessed 2010-01-10).
  3. ^ Online Member Directory Archived January 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. – Federation of BC Writers (accessed 2010-01-10).
  4. ^ Betsy Warland: Books Archived September 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. – (accessed 2010-01-10).
  5. ^ Writers in Residence at Saskatoon Public Library, 1981–2010 – Saskatoon Public Library (accessed 2010-01-10).
  6. ^ Vancouver Manuscript Intensive Archived May 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. – (accessed 2010-01-10).

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