Tom Wayman


First prize in Sonic Geography contest

Happy news today that my poem “Elemental Musics: Selkirk Mountains” won first prize ($500) in Musicworks’ 2016 Sonic Geography writing contest. Musicworks is a journal dedicated to developing audiences for experimental music. The poem, which responds to the sounds of mountain trees, winds, creeks and fire, is included in my forthcoming collection of poems about music, Helpless Angels (Thistledown Press, 2017).

BC Arts Council project assistance

Many thanks to the BC Arts Council’s Project Assistance for Creative Writers program for the very welcome news Jan. 12 that I have received support for February through June 2017 for my latest writing project. I’m also grateful for this honour to Walter Quan, who administers the program with considerable aplomb, and to this year’s jury.

Underway at the moment is a novel about “hippie labour” crews employed at urban renewal in the Gastown area of Vancouver in 1970. I’ve wanted for years to foreground the work experience in a longer fictional creation. My discovery of a cache of materials related to my own employment on a construction/demolition crew in Gastown in 1970 has provided both the impetus to shift this writing project into high gear, and invaluable reminders of the texture of the job and the era.

I look forward to five months of concentration on this writing task, and appreciate very much the vote of confidence in the project that this grant represents!

June road trip for Helpless Angels

In addition for the spring launch readings planned for my new collection from Thistledown Press of poems about music, a road trip to Saskatchewan is planned for June. Accompanying me to provide the music will be author and musician John Lent—performing either as a solo, duo, or maybe even bringing along the whole Lent/Fraser/Wall trio.

On Friday, June 23, 8 pm, we’ll be performing at Artesian, 2627 13th Ave., Regina. You can learn more about them at

On Saturday, June 24, we’ll be in Saskatoon—place and time TBA.

Spring launches for Helpless Angels

Helpless Angels by Tom Wayman - coverAlthough the official publication date for my new collection of poems about music, Helpless Angels, isn’t until May 1, I’m happy to report that some launch readings have already been firmed up.

On Tuesday, May 9 at 7 pm at Shelf Life Books in Calgary AB, I’ll be reading with a former University of Calgary writing student of mine, John Creary. John is launching a wonderfully energetic first book of poems, Escape from Wreck City, that Vancouver’s Anvil Press is publishing in the spring.

On Friday, May 12 at 7:30 pm Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson BC, I’ll be doing the home-town launch of Helpless Angels. In keeping with the theme of the new book, famed jazz saxophonist Clinton Swanson will perform two sets as part of the evening’s experience.

On Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bean Scene Coffee House, 2923 – 30th Ave. in Vernon BC, I’ll be joined by the Lent, Fraser, Wall Trio. My launch will be combined with a concert by this dynamic Roots&Blues group of author/musician/educator John Lent and incredible guitarists Neil Fraser and Shelby Wall. Two of the poems in Helpless Angels are about this group in performance (I find them that memorable), so it’s a special thrill to appear with them.


Three Vancouver Jewish Book Festival readings in November

I’ll have a couple of busy days in late November, when I’ll be reading from The Shadow We Mistake for Love in Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond. The readings are in connection with the 2016 Vancouver Jewish Book Festival, and arise because of The Shadows winning the fiction prize at this year’s Western Canada Jewish Book Awards.

On Sunday, Nov. 27 I’ll be reading at the Vancouver Jewish Community Centre, 950 West 41st Ave. from 2 to 3 p.m. Then it’ll be a high speed dash for me across the city, and from 4 to 5 p.m. I’ll be reading at the North Shore Jewish Community Centre, 1305 Taylor Way, West Vancouver. (more…)

Reading with Prism international at Word Vancouver Sept. 25

UBC’s literary magazine Prism international has asked me to be part of their showcase reading by recent contributors during Word Vancouver (formerly Word on the Street) on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3:20 p.m. in Tent 9 (called “Suspension Bridge”) on Homer St. between West Georgia St. and Robson St.

The showcase will feature, besides myself reading poems, Prism’s 2016 fiction contest winner Taryn Pearcey, conceptual poets Geoffrey Nilson and ryan fitzpatrick, and former Ottawa lyric poet Laura Farina.


Thistledown to publish Helpless Angels poetry collection

Helpless Angels by Tom Wayman - coverExciting news for me is that Thistledown Press of Saskatoon has accepted for publication in spring 2017 my new themed poetry collection, Helpless Angels: A Book of Music. Many of the poems in the volume previously appeared in such magazines as The Hudson Review, Queen’s Quarterly, Arc, Prairie Fire, and the website Poetry Daily.

Mine was the first generation in human history to be able to (more…)

A 21st Century Leacock?

An insightful review of The Shadows takes up a full page of the July-August 2016 issue of the Literary Review of Canada, which of course I was delighted to see. “Wayman’s affection for the people of the valley permeates his stories,” Lesley Krueger writes. “Wayman’s collection reads like nothing so much as a warped 21st century version of Stephen Leacock’s Mariposa.” The reviewer pairs a couple of Leacock’s characters in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912) to characters in The Shadows.

The review concludes: (more…)

Honour for The Shadows

I was happy to learn June 19 that The Shadows We Mistake for Love won the inaugural Western Canada Jewish Book Award for fiction—the Diamond Foundation Prize. The awards ceremony, at Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre, was hosted by the Globe and Mail’s western cultural columnist Marsha Lederman. Besides presentation of a $2,000 prize in five categories—poetry, non-fiction, children and youth, and Holocaust literature, as well as fiction—the event involved brief readings by the winners and a public Q & A with Ms. Lederman and the audience.

Vancouver reading June 24

Tom Wayman Fiction - The Shadows We Mistake For LoveI’ll be reading from The Shadows We Mistake for Love at Vancouver’s People’s Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Dr., on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.

Also on the bill is Hamilton, ON writer and jazz musician David Neil Lee, who will be reading (more…)

Essay collection forthcoming from Guernica Editions

I’m very pleased that Michael Mirolla of Oakville, ON’s Guernica Editions today accepted a manuscript of my selected essays and interviews 1994-2014 entitled If You’re Not Free at Work, Where Are You Free: Literature and Social Change. The essays were previously published in such journals as Canadian Literature, The New Quarterly, Labour/Le Travail, and the interviews in such journals as Contemporary Verse 2 and The Writer’s Chronicle. The book is scheduled to appear in spring 2019.


Tom Wayman at U of A’s writer-in-residence celebration

I will be participating in the University of Alberta’s 40th anniversary celebration of their writer-in-residence program, March 3 to 5, 2016. I was writer-in-residence on campus from 1978 to 1979. The celebration, hosted by (more…)

Vancouver Sun – Wayman leaves the shadows

Tom Wayman Fiction - The Shadows We Mistake For LoveA great Boxing Day present for me was the Vancouver Sun running a three-quarter-page spread on The Shadows We Mistake for Love in their Dec. 26 edition (page F7). They used a large version of Calvin Wharton’s photo of me in a canoe (see ABOUT: Bio), plus three questions from a longer Q & A about the book I had prepared some time ago for the publisher. An online version of this article (although only a headshot of me is used online) is at

BC BookWorld reviews The Shadows We Mistake For Love

Tom Wayman Fiction - The Shadows We Mistake For LoveThe Winter 2015-2016 issue of BC BookWorld has a nice review of The Shadows We Mistake For Love. Speaking of the story “Graveyard,” the reviewer says: “Wayman’s descriptions of the place, the day, and the mood are so dead on and so compelling you may shudder and shiver at the same time.”

Quill & Quire – starred review

The December 2015 issue of Quill & Quire (the Canadian book trade monthly) has a starred review (indicating “books of exceptional merit”) of The Shadows We Mistake For Love. Reviewer Brenda Schmidt calls the collection “wonderful” and says that “these stories resemble a close-knit community. Shifting in response to internal and external forces, the Slocan Valley and its inhabitants—wholly realized under Wayman’s deft touch—feel simultaneously alive and vulnerable.”

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