Joan Crate

Author of Suburban Legends

Joan Crate was born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Since then she’s lived in several towns and cities in B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan. She dropped out of high school, married young, and has worked as a waitress, model, usher, copy writer, theatre house manager, census commissioner, sales clerk, placement officer, editor, and summer camp leader, among other things.

Her post-secondary education began at Cariboo College, B.C., where she took Communications and found that she liked to write. She worked in radio, writing commercials for two years in Kamloops and two years in Regina. She discovered poetry at the University of Calgary, where she completed an Honours B.A. in English and an M.A. with distinction. Currently, she teaches English at Red Deer College and has for nineteen years. She lives in Calgary with Kamal Serhal, her partner of twenty-six years. She has four children, three boys and one girl, each one born in a different decade.

In 2008, her poem “I am a Prophet” was nominated for the Most Memorable Canadian poem by the Literary Review of Canada. Her first poetry book, Pale as Real Ladies: Poems for Pauline Johnson, is in its sixth printing and has been used in several university courses. Her second book of poetry, Foreign Homes, was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award in 2002 and chosen as “Book of the Year” by Vue Magazine. Her novel Breathing Water was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Award (Canada) and the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her work appears in many anthologies, she has won or placed in numerous writing competitions, and in 1988 she was the recipient of the Bliss Carman Award for Poetry.