Ron Smith (Canadian author)

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For other people with this name, including an American poet, see Ron Smith.

Ron Smith (born 1943) is a Canadian poet, author, playwright, former academic and the founder and current co-publisher of Oolichan Books in Lantzville, British Columbia.


Smith was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. He studied English literature at the University of British Columbia and at the University of Leeds (M.A. in 1970), and returned to Vancouver Island in 1971 to teach in the English Department at Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University) in Nanaimo, British Columbia,[1] where he taught English and creative writing for 28 years.[2] In 2011 he received the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award for his contribution to publishing in BC.

Smith was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of British Columbia in 2002 and was the inaugural Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University, 2005.[2]

In 1974 he founded the publishing company Oolichan Books. A successful grant application to the Canada Council in 1975 enabled the press to become an independent publisher. The operation was located in Smith's hometown of Lantzville, a small seaside village on Vancouver Island.[1] Smith now lives with his wife, Patricia Smith, also a writer, In Nanoose Bay, BC. He sold the press after 36 years and now works as its editor.[2]

From 1988 to 1991 he was the fiction editor for Douglas & McIntyre. He has been called "instrumental" in helping to start the first aboriginal publishing house, Theytus Books, in 1981.[3]

He is the author of a suite of poems, Seasonal (1984), a long poem, A Buddha Named Baudelaire (1988), two other collections of poetry and a collection of fiction, What Men Know About Women (1999), an illustrated children's title Elf the Eagle (2007) which was short-listed for the BC Book Prizes and the Saskatchewan Young Readers Award, a biography Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James Story (2011) and a memoir The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke (2016), which recently won the Indpendent Publisher IPPY Gold Medal for autobiography/memoir.

Smith also reviews books, and co-edited the anthology of Canadian West Coast short fiction: Rainshadow Stories from Vancouver Island (1982), Poetry Hotel: Selected Poems by Joe Rosenblatt (1985), the Collected Works of Ralph Gustafson, vol. 1 and 2 (1987) and New & Selected Poems by W. H. New (2015).

His poetry was translated by Ada Donati and published in a bilingual edition Ferrara, Italy, 2002.



  • Rainshadow: Stories from Vancouver Island. Sono Nis/Oolichan (co-editor, 1982)


  • Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James Story. Oolichan (2011)
  • The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke. Ronsdale (2016)


  • Seasonal. Sono Nis (1984)
  • A Buddha Named Baudelaire. Sono Nis (1988)
  • Enchantment & Other Demons. Oolichan (1995)
  • Arabesque e altre poesie, Schifanoia Editore, Italy (2002)


  • What Men Know About Women. Oolichan (1999)

Children's literature[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Literary Archives: Oolichan Books LMS-0113". Library Archives Canada Web site. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b c Author Bio on the Book: Ron Smith. Elf The Eagle (October 30, 2007 ed.). Oolichan Books. p. 40. ISBN 0-88982-241-7. 
  3. ^ "2006 Conference Faculty". Arizona State University Writers Conference Web site. 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 

External links[edit]