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Ian Williams - book author

Ian Williams is the author of Personals, shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award; Not Anyone’s Anything, winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada; and You Know Who You Are, a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry. He was named as one of ten Canadian writers to watch by CBC.

Williams completed his Ph.D. in English at the University of Toronto and works as an English professor.

In 2014-2015, Williams was the Canadian Writer-in-Residence for the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program at the University of Calgary. He has also held residencies or fellowships at the Leighton Artists’ Colony at the Banff Centre, Vermont Studio Center, Cave Canem, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Palazzo Rinaldi in Italy. He was a scholar at the National Humanities Center Summer Institute for Literary Study. His writing has appeared in several North American journals and anthologies.

He is currently working on his first novel.

Ian Williams is the author of books: Reproduction, Personals, Not Anyone's Anything, You Know Who You Are

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Author Books

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01
A hilarious, surprising and poignant love story about the way families are invented, told with the savvy of a Zadie Smith and with an inventiveness all Ian Williams' own, Reproduction bangs lives together in a polyglot suburb of Toronto.

Felicia and Edgar meet as their mothers are dying. Felicia, a teen from an island nation, and Edgar, the lazy heir of a wealthy German family, come together only because their mothers share a hospital room. When Felicia's mother dies and Edgar's "Mutter" does not, Felicia drops out of high school and takes a job as Mutter's caregiver. While Felicia and Edgar don't quite understand each other, and Felicia recognizes that Edgar is selfish, arrogant, and often unkind, they form a bond built on grief (and proximity) that results in the birth of a son Felicia calls Armistice. Or Army, for short.

Some years later, Felicia and Army (now 14) are living in the basement of a home owned by Oliver, a divorced man of Portuguese descent who has two kids--the teenaged Heather and the odd little Hendrix. Along with Felicia and Army, they form an unconventional family, except that Army wants to sleep with Heather, and Oliver wants to kill Army. Then Army's fascination with his absent father--and his absent father's money--begins to grow as odd gifts from Edgar begin to show up. And Felicia feels Edgar's unwelcome shadow looming over them. A brutal assault, a mortal disease, a death, and a birth reshuffle this group of people again to form another version of the family.

Reproduction is a profoundly insightful exploration of the bizarre ways people become bonded that insists that family isn't a matter of blood.
02
Finalist for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize

These are not love poems. These are almost-love poems. Jittery, plaintive, and fresh, these are poems voiced through a startling variety of speakers who continually rev themselves up to the challenge of connecting with others, often to no avail. Ian Williams writes in traditional poetic forms: ghazals, a pantoum, blank sonnets, mock-heroic couplets. He also invents his own: poems that spin into indeterminacy, poems that don't end. With a deft hand and playful ear, Williams entices the reader to stumble alongside his characters as they search, again and again, for intimacy, for love, and for each other.
03
Ian Williams's Not Anyone's Anything is a trio of trios: three sets of three stories, with three of those stories further divided into thirds.
04
Ian Williams writes challenging poetry. His poems address the crisis of young, black masculinity in cities, paint starkly urban portraits of live and break open stereotypes. Sly humor laces through this collection, and Williams is adept at playing with language to change meanings in unexpected ways. For him it's easy to turn the word go into gone.