GAIL ANDERSON-DARGATZ has been published worldwide in English and in many other languages in more than ﬁfteen territories. Her latest book, The Spawning Grounds, was released in September 2016 and is her first literary novel since the 2007 bestseller Turtle Valley.
Her first novel, The Cure for Death by Lightning, met with terrific acclaim and was a finalist for the prestigious Giller Prize. This international bestseller also won the UK’s Betty Trask Award, the BC Book Prize for Fiction and the VanCity Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award.
Gail’s second novel, A Recipe for Bees, was again a finalist for the Giller Prize and was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. A Rhinestone Button was also a bestseller and Gail's first book, The Miss Hereford Stories, was a finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour.
Saturday Night magazine has said that the inclination to write about rural characters sets Anderson-Dargatz apart from many writers of her generation, who tend towards urban fiction. What does she find so fascinating about small-town and country life? "Once you step off the concrete,” she says, “life stops being abstract and starts being very real, very immediate, very fundamental and very sensual." On this topic, the Financial Post said, “Anyone who thinks rural characters in Canadian fiction are dull and bland should pick up one of Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s novels. … The only certainty in her world view is that anything can, and very often does, happen.”
Anderson-Dargatz’s fictional style has been called "Margaret Laurence meets Gabriel García Márquez" because her writing tends towards magic realism, but she says the magic in her writing arises not from literary influences, but from family stories of the Thompson Shuswap region, which she carefully transcribed. "My father passed on the rich stories about the region I grew up in, which he heard from the Shuswap men he worked with. And my mother told me tales of ghosts, eccentrics and dark deeds that haunted the area."
After nearly a decade of teaching within the Optional-Residency MFA program in creative writing at the University of British Columbia, Gail now mentors writers around the world through her own on-line forums. She also hosts The Spawning Grounds Writers' Retreat at Sorrento Centre, BC and the Providence Bay Writers’ Camp for adults from her summer home on Manitoulin Island, Lake Huron, Ontario.
For most of the year, though, Gail lives in the Shuswap in south-central British Columbia, the landscape found in so much of her writing, with her husband Mitch Krupp and their family.