Connie Gault

 Connie Gault, nee Hatley, fiction writer and playwright (b at Central Butte, Sask 6 March 1949). Born into an air force family, Connie Hatley grew up in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta, returning to rural Saskatchewan for summer holidays until 1965, when the family settled in Moose Jaw. There she met and married her husband Gordon Gault; they have two sons. She moved to Regina in 1974, and in 1984 she received her BA in English from the University of Regina.

Gault's first short story appeared in Grain in 1981 and she has since published fiction in literary journals and the anthologies Saskatchewan Gold, The Oxford Book of Stories by Canadian Women in English, and Best Canadian Stories. Her story collections include Some of Eve's Daughters (1987), which won the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Long Manuscript Award, and Inspection of a Small Village (1996), for which she received the City of Regina Book Award.

In the late 1980s, Gault began to write drama as well as fiction. Her published plays include Sky (1989), The Soft Eclipse (1990), Otherwise Bob (1999), and Red Lips (2002), and have been produced by such companies as Twenty-Fifth Street Theatre, Globe Theatre, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Theatre Network, Northern Light Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, and Theatre & Company. Gault has written works for CBC Radio, and Sky was broadcast as a BBC World Service Play of the Week in 1994.

Recurring features of Gault's work include an attention to female characters and an interest in rural Saskatchewan life. In her story "Inspection of a Small Village," an archival document relating to a health inspector's 1958 visit to a Prairie village premises a haunting reverie revealing the ambivalent emotions of a contemporary woman engaged in an extramarital affair. The scant facts of the inspector's report conjoin, in the woman's imagination, with her own family lore and half-understood childhood memories of her mother, who lived in the village at the time of the inspection.

In "The Soft Eclipse," an eclipse of the sun during the summer of 1965 is the pretext and unifying metaphor for Gault's dramatization of the lives of different generations of women in a small Saskatchewan town on the eve of the sexual revolution and the women's rights movement.

While the poetic evocation of Prairie life in such works as Inspection of a Small Village and The Soft Eclipse is an integral feature of Gault's writing, her fictional and dramatic range is not limited to a particular regional context or literary style. Her story "Song of Songs" replays Solomon's ancient celebration of love, through a contemporary Canadian couple's quest to see Marc Chagall's paintings before they leave France. Her play Otherwise Bob is a surreal exploration of the inner life of a woman in revolt against mundane pressures that foster conformity and productivity at the expense of individuality and passion.

In 2009 Coteau Books published her story about the life of a Canadian woman in the 19th century, Euphoria: a Novel, which won the 2009 Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction.

Connie Gault was fiction editor of Grain magazine from 1995-98. Her stylistic and thematic range and her distinct perspective as a Saskatchewan-based female writer make hers an important voice in Canadian fiction and drama.