Merilyn Simonds

General Session Address:  Thursday, February 16 – 1:30 PM

A Writer’s Place

What is the effect of place on a writer? Merilyn Simonds looks at literal and literary landscapes: how the places in her life infiltrate her books, how real places are imagined and fictional ones conjured from the landscapes of memory, mind, and heart.

San Miguel Writers Conference Creative Nonfiction

Photo by Paul Orenstein

Merilyn Simonds is the author of fifteen books, including the creative nonfiction classic, The Convict Lover, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award; a collection of autobiographical stories, The Lion in the Room Next Door; a novel, The Holding; and a travel memoir, Breakfast at the Exit Café, cowritten with her husband Wayne Grady.

Her short fiction is anthologized internationally, and her books have been published in Europe, Asia, Canada, and in the United States by G. P. Putnam’s Sons and W. W. Norton. Her latest book, A New Leaf: Growing with my Garden, is a collection of essays rooted in her twenty-six gardens in eastern Ontario.

Reviewers have called her work, “Beautifully wrought, emotionally complex.”

“Stories so solid they seem sculpted, yet so delicate they remain full of mystery.” “The observation of the details of life are Chekhovian in their accuracy.”

Susan Halpren, writing in the New York Times, where Simonds’ novel was selected an Editor’s Choice, says, “Simonds is a careful, evocative writer, able to tease out colors from an overcast sky, to find depth in shadows.”