New Brunswick Author Portal

Kathy  Mac
Categories: Female AuthorsAnglophone AuthorsPoetsSaint John River Valley


In her final term at high-school in Peterborough Ontario, Kathy Mac lived in a boarding house because her family had moved to the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan; upon graduating she joined them, for several months working as a teaching assistant in a school for expatriates' children in Tarbella (about midway between Islamabad and Peshawar). This prepared her for a summer spent working at a day care in Whitehorse when she returned to Canada, though not for the subsequent winter employment in a down jacket factory back in Peterborough. The next year, 1982, she moved to Halifax where she studied drawing and textile arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCADU), during which she studied abroad for one term in southern Venezuela, and another in the mountains of Peru.

After graduating from NSCADU, she worked for several years at the first desktop publishing company in Atlantic Canada as well as freelancing as a designer and editor. She then returned to academe, initially studying English literature at the undergraduate level at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), and then becoming a member of the first M.A. class in the English Department at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Back in Halifax again, she pursued a doctorate at Dalhousie University. After graduation, she taught part-time in the English departments at MSVU, Dalhousie, and St. Mary's universities and the Art History department of NSCADU, until she received a nine-month appointment to the Department of English at Saint Thomas University (STU) in 2001, where she is now Chair.

Throughout her life, "Dr. McConnell" has written poems and eventually - under the pen name Kathy Mac - published them in literary magazines across Canada.

At STU, Dr. McConnell teaches Creative Writing, required first and second year courses, Women Writers, and Victorian Literature. Her scholarly projects invariably concern the intersection of texts with popular and/or material culture, while her creative writing goes where it must.

How has New Brunswick influenced your work?

It gets into your blood -- the scrubby bush, the veneer of security. The front yard of my house is a suburban lawn (rather patchy at this point), and the back is small mixed growth forest, and that is, I think, New Brunswick in microcosm. And I live in the midst of it.

What is your favourite New Brunswick book, and why?

In poetry? James Langer's Gun Dogs. It's heart rending, but wonderful. In prose, I'm fond of Carla Gunn's Amphibian. But there are so many. It's really hard to choose.

What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?

It's always the next thing that happens. Will my manuscript be accepted? Best moment ever! Will a poem place or even win a competition? Best news ever! Are my students getting published? Proudest I've ever been!

Literary Prizes

Honourable mention, 2-day Poem Contest, Contemporary Verse 2 (CV2): The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing - 2012 In recognition of: “Instructions for peer evaluation, with examples”
Alfred G. Bailey Prize for Poetry, Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Literary Competition - 2012 In recognition of: “The point of this whole implausible set-up”
Finalist, Kroetsch Award - 2010-11 In recognition of: “The point of this whole implausible set-up”
3rd prize, Individual Poem, Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Literary Competition - 2009 In recognition of: “Elizabethan four poster"
Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, League of Canadian Poets - 2003 In recognition of: “Nail builders plan for strength and growth”
Finalist, Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry - 2002 In recognition of: “Nail builders plan for strength and growth”

Find this author in the New Brunswick public libraries catalogue.

Source(s): Author.