Brett Josef Grubisic

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Brett Josef Grubisic (born 1963)[1] is a Canadian novelist and editor, and professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He obtained degrees from University of Victoria (B.A., M.A.) and the University of British Columbia (Ph.D.)

He has edited one anthology of gay male pulp fiction, and co-edited an anthology of upcoming Canadian writers. The former collection highlights stories that represent lives outside the urban middle-class mainstream; the latter, featuring such acclaimed writers as Annabel Lyon, Steven Heighton, Camilla Gibb, Michael Turner, and Larissa Lai, aims to redress an absence the editors claim to have noticed in Canadian literature: sexually frank fiction. Grubisic's debut novel, The Age of Cities, was published in 2006,[2] and was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Prize. Set predominantly in the late 1950s, the novel-within-a-novel traces the uncertain evolution of a librarian as he struggles between two disparate choices, one urban and the other rural. This Location of Unknown Possibilities, Grubisic's follow-up novel, appeared in 2014.[3] Satirizing university campus and film production politics, it recounts the comic but transformative experience of two anti-heroic protagonists, Marta Spëk, an English professor, and Jakob Nugent, a film production manager, as they travel from Vancouver to British Columbia's Okanagan Valley in order to work on a television biopic about Lady Hester Stanhope. Understanding Beryl Bainbridge, Grubisic's comprehensive study of the British author's fiction, was published in 2008; it examines Bainbridge as a blackly comic novelist as well as a writer of historiographic metafiction. Appearing in 2009, American Hunks: The Muscular Male Body in Popular Culture, 1860-1970, a pictorial social history co-authored with David L. Chapman, charts changes in the depictions of and attitudes toward the nude and semi-nude male body in North America. National Plots: Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada, co-edited with Andrea Cabajsky, was published in 2010. The authors of the collection's fourteen essays explore the diverse ways that a wide range of historical fiction (published between 1850 and 2005) contributes to the formation of national identity. Co-edited with Gisele Baxter and Tara Lee, Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase: Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature takes NAFTA as a starting point; the volume's essayists interrogate the work of Canadian, American, and Mexican authors whose novels and short stories envision various North American realities through a dystopian lens. The second book of Grubisic's projected River Bend Trilogy, From Up River and For One Night Only is set over a six-month period in 1980-1 and describes the misadventures of two sets of siblings, high school students who decide to form a New Wave cover band and enter a Battle of the Bands contest. The Vancouver Sun reviewer described it as "filled with hope and exuberance" and "Lovingly and delightfully told, and completely without sentimentality, Grubisic's autobiographical novel is a long ode to youth, to unquenchable life and, yes, it's nostalgic but in the best possible way".

He has written about film, books, and writers for the Toronto Star, Literary Review of Canada, National Post, the Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, Maclean's, and Xtra!.

He served on the jury for the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize, selecting Alex Leslie as that year's winner.[4]



  • Understanding Beryl Bainbridge (University of South Carolina Press, 2008)
  • American Hunks: The Muscular Male Body in Popular Culture, 1860-1970 (Arsenal Pulp, 2009)
  • National Plots: Historical Fiction and Changing Ideas of Canada (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010)
  • Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase: Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014)


  • The Age of Cities (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2006)
  • This Location of Unknown Possibilities (Now or Never Press, 2014)
  • From Up River and For One Night Only (Now or Never Press, 2016)
  • Oldness; Or, the Last-Ditch Efforts of Marcus O (Now or Never Press, 2018)


  • Contra/Diction: New Gay Male Fiction. (Arsenal Pulp, 1998)
  • Carnal Nation: Brave New Sex Fictions (Arsenal Pulp, 2000), edited with Carellin Brooks


  1. ^ Queer CanLit: Canadian, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Literature in English. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7727-6065-4.
  2. ^ Ghassan Shanti, "Secretive and coded: The half-visible world of Cold War-era queers". Xtra! West, October 25, 2006.
  3. ^ "A bookish prof and a sexual adventurer collide". Xtra!, May 19, 2014.
  4. ^ "Alex Leslie wins 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers". Quill & Quire, June 8, 2015.

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