Calgary Distinguished Writers Program
Deborah Willis was born and raised in Calgary, AB, but left in 2000 to study English and creative writing at the University of Victoria. Her fiction has appeared in Grain, EVENT, PRISM international and The Walrus, and her work has been translated into Czech, Hebrew, Italian and Vietnamese.
Deborah experienced major success with her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, published in 2009 by Penguin (Canada). A collection of short stories, it was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Literary Fiction, a lofty honour that saw Willis competing against her greatest influence as a writer, the iconic Alice Munro. Munro herself praised Willis, stating “the emotional range and depth of these stories, the clarity and the deftness, is astonishing.” Vanishing and Other Stories, which has since been published in the U.S. by Harper Perennial, as well as in Israel, was nominated for the B.C. Book Prize and chosen as one of the Globe and Mail’s top 100 books of 2009.
Deborah has been a writer-in-residence at the Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, and has worked for many years as a bookseller in Victoria, BC.