RIP Ann Ireland, 1953-2018
I like to think that silence is under rated and should be paid attention to. All silence, in my experience, leads to something interesting popping up.
Ann Ireland was born in Toronto in 1953 and studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia earning a BFA in 1976. She wrote 5 critically acclaimed novels in her career but she also had a passion for sharing her knowledge with aspiring writers. She began teaching creative writing at The Chang School at Ryerson University in 1991.
In 1996, Ireland's second novel, The Instructor, was released. NOW magazine described it as "a conflicted and haunting novel, infused with nostalgia on the one hand and an ashen atmosphere of lost innocence on the other, that is also compulsively readable". It was a finalist for Ontario's Trillium Award. The Instructor is available in Regular Print and as an ebook.
Exile followed in 2002. It was shortlisted for both the Governor General's Fiction Award and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. A review in the Vancouver Sun called it "social commentary at its subtle and witty best". Exile is available in Regular Print.
In 2013, Ann Ireland was part of TPL's eh List author series. At the time her novel, The Blue Guitar, about competitors at a classical guitar competition had just been released. In her online chat with Book Buzz, she shared insight about writing. She was warm, funny and open about sharing her own writing process. I was so grateful to have had the chance to host the event. The Blue Guitar is available in Regular Print and as an ebook.
Ireland's fifth and final novel, Where's Bob? was released in May 2018. Her publisher Daniel Wells expressed his feelings saying "[s]he was a wonderful writer, and all of us at Biblioasis were excited to finally work with her on Where’s Bob? We imagined it would be the first of many more books—and having had the privilege, we are sadder still." Where's Bob? is available in Regular Print and as an ebook.
Ann Ireland's loss is a hard one for the Toronto literary community but Marie Bountrogianni, dean of the Chang School believes that "Ann’s exquisite talent and craftsmanship will be carried on through the work of her students for decades to come".
Ann Ireland died on August 23, 2018 of carcinoid syndrome. She was 65.