by George J. Dance

Elisabeth Harvor. Courtesy Palimpsest Press.

Erica Elisabeth Arendt Harvor (born June 26, 1936) is a Canadian poet, fiction writer, and academic.

Life[edit | edit source]

Harvor was born Erica Elisabeth Arendt Deichmann in Saint John, New Brunswick, the daughter of Erica (Matthiesen) and Kjeld Deichmann, Danish immigrants who made pottery by hand.[1]

She grew up in the rural Kennebecasis River valley of New Brunswick.[2] At 5, she started school in a 1-room schoolhouse, where she remained through Grade 8. At 11 she had her earliest publication, a poem about the Granby, Quebec, Zoo, which appeared in the zoo's magazine, Le Carnet.[1]

She began high school at Saint John Vocational High School, where she studied under Kay Smith; after catching pneumonia, she spent a year at the local high school, but returned to Saint John High for her senior year.[1]

She married architect Stig Harvor in 1957, and lived with him in Europe for 2 years; they then returned to Canada, living in Ottawa where her 2 sons were born. While her sons were growing up, she began writing stories, and published in the New Yorker and the Hudson Review.[1]

When her youngest son went to university in 1981, Harvor also enrolled at university, studying creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal, where she earned an M.A. in 1986. She then moved to Toronto, where she became a lecturer at York University[1]

She has taught at Concordia, York, and the Humber School for Writers, and has been writer in residence at universities and libraries across Canada.[3]

Her fiction and poetry have appeared in the Malahat Review, The New Yorker, PRISM International, the Hudson Review, Best Canadian Stories, The Best American Short Stories, and many other literary magazines and anthologies.She has also written for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, and many other periodicals.[3]

She lives in Ottawa.[3]

Recognition[edit | edit source]

Fortress of Chairs, her debut collection of poetry, won the Gerald Lampert Award for best 1st book of poetry written by a Canadian writer in 1992. Her next poetry book, The Long Cold Green Evenings of Spring, was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award in 1997.[1]

Her debut novel, Excessive Joy Injures the Heart, was chosen one of the 10 best books of the year by The Toronto Star in 2000.[2]

In 2004 she won the Malahat Novella Prize for Across Some Dark Avenue of Plot He Carried Her Body.[2]

Her story collection Let Me Be the One was a finalist for the Governor General's Award.[2]

Other awards she has won include the Marian Engel Award, for a woman writer in mid-career, in 2000, and the Alden Nowlan Award for Literary Excellence, in 2003.[2]

Publications[edit | edit source]

Poetry[edit | edit source]

  • Fortress of Chairs. Montreal: Signal Editions, 1992.
  • Through a Back Door in the Landscape. Toronto: Coach House, 1996.
  • The Long Cold Green Evenings of Spring. Montreal: Signal Editions, 1997.
  • An Open Door in the Landscape. Kingsville, ON: Palimpsest Press, 2010.

Novels[edit | edit source]

  • Excessive Joy Injures the Heart. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2000; New York: Harcourt, 2002.
  • All Times Have Been Modern. Toronto: Viking, 2004.

Short fiction[edit | edit source]

  • Women and Children. Ottawa : Oberon Press, 1973
    • revised as Our Lady of All Distances. Toronto: HarperCollins, 1991.
  • If Only We Could Drive Like This Forever. Markham, ON: Penguin, 1988.
    • revised, Toronto: Penguin, 2004.
  • Let Me Be the One. Toronto: HarperCollins, 1996; New York: Emblem, 2012.

Edited[edit | edit source]

  • A Room at the Heart of Things: The work that came to me: An anthology of new writings. Montreal: Vehicule Press|Signal Editions, 1997.


Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Stacy Monteith, Elisabeth Harvor, New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia, spring 2010, St. Thomas University. Web, Apr. 11, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Elisabeth Harvor: Biography, Canadian Poetry Online, University of Toronto. Web, Apr. 11, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Elisabeth Harvor, Writers Union of Canada]. Web, Oct. 3, 2015.
  4. Search results = au:Elisabeth Harvor, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Sep. 14, 2014.

External links[edit | edit source]

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