Ron Smith. Courtesy Oolichan Books.

Ron Smith (born 1943) is a Canadian poet, prose author, playwright, and academic. He is the founder and co-publisher of Oolichan Books.


Smith was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. He studied English literature at the University of British Columbia (B.A. in 1969) and at the University of Leeds (M.A. in 1970).[1]

He returned to Vancouver Island in 1971 to teach in the English Department at Malaspina University-College in Nanaimo, British Columbia,[2] where he taught English and creative writing for 28 years.[3]

In 1974 he founded publishing company Oolichan Books.[1] 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.[2] He sold the press after 38 years and works as its editor.[3]

Smith lives with his wife, Patricia Smith (also a writer), In Nanoose Bay, BC.

From 1988 to 1991 he was the fiction editor for Douglas & McIntyre.[1] He has been called "instrumental" in helping to start Theytus Books, the oldest Indigenous publishing house in Canada, in 1981.[4]

Smith also reviews books, and edited the anthology of Canadian West Coast short fiction: Rainshadow Stories from Vancouver Island (1982) and the Collected Works of Ralph Gustafson.

His poetry has been translated and published in Italy.

Writing Edit

Smith is the author of a suite of poems, Seasonal (1984), a long poem, A Buddha Named Baudelaire (1988), 2 other collections of poetry,a collection of fiction, What Men Know About Women (1999), an illustrated children's book, and a biography, KId Dynamite: The Gerry James Story (2011).


Smith received an honorary degree from the University of British Columbia in 2002. He was the inaugural Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University in 2005.[3]

His children's book Elf the Eagle (2007), was short-listed for a BC Book Prize and for the Saskatchewan Young Readers Award

In 2011 he received the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award, presented annually by the Association of Book Publishers of B.C. for significant contribution to the book industry in British Columbia.[1]


  • 1993, Bumbershoot/Weyerhauser Publication Award as publisher.
  • 1995, Runner-up Bridport Prize competition for short fiction.
  • 1995, Finalist for CBC fiction competition
  • 2002, Recipient of D.Litt., (Honorary Doctorate) from UBC
  • 2005, Inaugural Fulbright Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University
  • 2008, Short-listed for BC Book Prizes, Christie Harris Award
  • 2009, Finalist for Shining Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers
  • 2011, Recipient of Gray Campbell Award for contribution to publishing in BC.
  • 2017, Long-listed for George Ryga Prize
  • 2017, Won IPPY Gold Medal for The Defiant Mind.

Except where noted, award information courtesy Ron Smith.[1]



  • Seasonal. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1984.
  • A Buddha Named Baudelaire. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1988.
  • Enchantment & other demons. Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1995.
  • Arabesque e altre Poesie, Ferarra, Italy, 2002

Short fictionEdit

  • What Men Know About Women: Stories. Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1999.
  • The last Time We Talked, Victoria: Reference West, 1996


  • Skelton at 70: A checklist. Victoria, BC: Reference West, 2005.
  • Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James story. Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 2011.
  • The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke, Vancouver: Ronsdale, 2016
  • Improbable Journeys: from Crossing the Himalayas on Horseback to a Career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oakville: Rock's Mills Press, 2020


  • Elf the Eagle illustrated by Ruth Campbell). Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 2007. ISBN 0-88982-241-7


  • Ralph Gustafson, Collected Poems. (2 volumes), Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1982.
  • Rainshadow: Stories from Vancouver Island (edited with Stephen Guppy). Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1982.
  • Poetry Hotel: Selected Poems of Joe Rosenblatt, Toronto: M&S, 1986

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Bio, Web, June 9, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Literary Archives: Oolichan Books LMS-0113" (HTML). Library Archives Canada Web site. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Author Bio on the Book: Ron Smith. Elf The Eagle (October 30, 2007 ed.). Oolichan Books. pp. 40. ISBN 0-88982-241-7. 
  4. "2006 Conference Faculty" (HTML). Arizona State University Writers Conference Web site. 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  5. Search results = au:Ron Smith 1943, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Feb. 24, 2015.

External linksEdit

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