Dave Margoshes

Dave Margoshes grew up in the U.S., some of his childhood spent in New York City, some in rural New Jersey. His father, an uncle and grandfather were journalists but Margoshes had no intention of following their footsteps until, after university, he found himself working for a newspaper. What he did want to do, from an early age, was write fiction. Even as a young child, he was always making up stories in his head.

As a journalist, he lived a somewhat itinerant life for a number of years, working on nine daily newspapers (and some lesser publications) in the U.S. and Canada before shucking it for full-time writing of his own in 1986, coincidental to his move to Saskatchewan, where the fates seemed to be pulling him. Since then, he’s published 15 books – God Telling a Joke and Other Stories will be his 16th, and 7th collection of short fiction.

Some of his stories and poems spring from his days as a journalist, when he covered everything from politics to murder to cat shows, and once ghost-wrote a column for actress Jayne Mansfield.

Margoshes attended Middlebury College in Vermont for two years and distinguished himself by flunking French several times. In self-defence, he followed Huck Finn’s advice by hightailing it for the territories and barely managed to get a B.A. at the University of Iowa.

He started his career in newspapers at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a copyboy. Over 20 years, he worked for papers in Chicago, New York City, New Jersey, Iowa, Colorado and Monterey, Calif., before moving to Canada in the early ‘70s. In Canada, he worked for papers in Calgary and Vancouver. Twice he was a city editor. In Calgary, he worked for both of the city’s papers and taught journalism at both of its colleges – Mount Royal College and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).

He moved to Regina in 1986, writing more or less full-time but also occasionally teaching first-year English, creative writing and journalism at the University of Regina. He relocated to a farm west of Saskatoon in 2010.

His books include three novels, five volumes of poetry and a biography. Along the way, he’s won a few awards, including the Stephen Leacock Prize for Poetry in 1996, the John V. Hicks Award for fiction in 2001 and the City of Regina Writing Award twice, in 2004 and 2010. His Bix’s Trumpet and Other Stories was Book of the Year at the Saskatchewan Book Awards and a finalist for the ReLit Award in 2007, and his poetry collection, Dimensions of an Orchard, won the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Prize at the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards. He was a finalist for the Journey Prize in 2009.
He's had stories and poems published in dozens of magazines and anthologies in Canada and the United States (included six times in Best Canadian Stories), had work broadcast on CBC, and given readings and workshops across the country.

In 1995-96, he was writer in residence in Winnipeg; in 2001-02, he had a similar post at the Saskatoon Public Library. He’s been a mentor to a number of younger writers.

Writing Philosophy: I go along with Frost's notion of the poet as a trickster, making use of a bag of tricks. When I'm writing poetry I'm a juggler, a card shark, a tightrope walker. With fiction it’s much the same, except that the primary focus is on telling a story. Story is what it’s all about.