Zsuzsi Gartner

Zsuzsi Gartner, writer, editor, journalist, (born at Winnipeg, MB, 4 May 1960) began her career in journalism. She continues to write for the GLOBE AND MAIL and the Vancouver SUN while regularly contributing reviews and articles to a diverse number of periodicals including QUILL & QUIRE, CANADIAN BUSINESS and Western Living. Her ongoing work as a journalist informs her fiction: she believes that facts and the specifics of reality allow her to create worlds that are true to living. Her stories have appeared in many of Canada's finest LITERARY MAGAZINES, including Prairie Fire, The Malahat Review, Event and Geist. The award winning "How to Survive in the Bush" is included in her first, critically acclaimed collection All the Anxious Girls on Earth (1999).

As a young girl, Zsuzsi Gartner wrote in a small coil notebook "More than ever before I want to write," going on to lament "but I keep getting my own feelings into the stories." Gartner admits that in that respect little has changed in her writing. As the editor of Darwin's Bastards (2010), a collection of short stories featuring dystopian worlds and parallel universes from a cross section of Canadian writers, Gartner reveals her dedication to the short story as a vital literary form. For Gartner, the short story is the ideal shape by which to examine the evolution or devolution of the human character. She sees endless potential within the form's boundaries and continuously risks moving its lines and exceeding its demands. While extolling the form's unique nature, Gartner extends new ways to use it. She writes with artistic economy and rigorous wit, moving between wisdom and humour.

Zsuzsi Gartner's second collection of stories, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives (2011) presents characters who are often quirky, confused and anxious about their urban existence. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary are the backdrops for the stories, but Gartner does not want to create sealed fictional realities: she wants readers to arrive in her settings recognizing familiar landmarks, modern attitudes and ordinary experiences, then moves them and the setting's elements into a vivid light, presenting a world filled with vibrant, tragicomic people and incidents. Gartner shocks while engaging, filling the reader with sympathy for her fictional lives, then with outrage. There is little of modern living that Gartner does not notice, yet she never resorts to grey earnestness or black despair in presenting our lives. Instead she mingles laughter and eloquence, reality and emotion, seducing us into regarding our own lives with tolerance and compassion.

Zsuzsi Gartner has won both Silver and Gold National Magazine Awards for her journalism and First Prize in fiction at the Eden Mills Writers Festival's literary awards. Published internationally, Gartner was shortlisted for the 2011 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE for her second collection. Gartner continues to lecture, teach and act as writer in residence for some of Canada's most prestigious arts faculties and writing programs, including the UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA and the BANFF CENTRE.