Michael Winter - Biography

Though born in England, Michael Winter has spent most of his life in Newfoundland. While growing up in Corner Brook, Winter dabbled in a diverse cross-section of occupations; he has experience being a paperboy, a trap-shoot operator and a city planner. Ultimately, however, Winter chose writing as his main focus. This decision, indeed, has met with much approval, as he has won a number of awards for his fiction. Nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, his debut novel, This All Happened (2000), won the Winterset Award. Before publishing long fiction, however, Winter released two collections of short stories, Creaking in Their Skins (1994) and One Last Good Look (1999), which was serialized for CBC Radio’s Between the Covers. The latter collection, along with This All Happened, centres on the writer-protagonist Gabriel English and his life in St. John’s. Considering that Winter is a member of the Burning Rock Collective, a St. John’s-based writers’ group that includes the likes of Lisa Moore and Claire Wilkshire, he is well qualified to comment on the flourishing literary scene in St. John’s. Following the publication of This All Happened—a novel that takes the form of a daily diary and is subtitled “A Fictional Memoir”—Winter admitted that his chief protagonist is a loosely-veiled version of himself. Further cementing this suspicion is the fact that Winter’s next novel, The Big Why, is the novel that English was talking about writing in This All Happened. Nominated for the Atlantic Book Awards’ Thomas Raddall Fiction Prize and Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, The Big Why is a historical novel that details the American painter Rockwell Kent’s time in Brigus, Newfoundland. Winter has also become more active as an essayist, teacher and juror. He has published articles in such publications as The Walrus and Brick Magazine and has taught at the Banff Centre for the Arts and with the University of Toronto’s Continuing Studies department and the University of New Orleans’ Low Residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Winter was one of four jurors for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and in 2008 was awarded the Writers' Trust Notable Author Award for a writer in mid-career based in part on the success of his novel The Architects are Here in the same year. His novel The Death of Donna Whalen (2010) is a documentary fiction based on a murder that occurred in St. John's. Winter has split his time between St. John’s and Toronto.