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Deborah Willis is a Canadian short story writer.

Deborah Willis


Daughter of Pauline and Gary Willis, she was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1982 and lived there until leaving to study at the University of Victoria.


Willis' fiction has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly, The Iowa Review, PRISM international, The Walrus, and Zoetrope. Her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories (2009), published by Penguin, was named one of The Globe and Mail's Best Books of 2009, and was nominated for the BC Book Prize, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the Victoria Butler Book Prize and the Governor General's Award. It was published in the United States by Harper Perennial in 2010 and translated into Hebrew (Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir Publishing) and Italian (Svanire , Del Vecchio Editore).

Her second collection of short fiction, The Dark and Other Love Stories (2017), was published by Hamish Hamilton, the literary imprint of Penguin Canada, and by W.W. Norton and Company in the U.S. It will be translated into Italian and published by Del Vecchio Editore. The Dark and Other Love Stories was longlisted for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize.[1]

Deborah Willis has been a horseback riding instructor, a reporter, a technical writer, and worked as a bookseller in Victoria, British Columbia.[2][3] She was a writer-in-residence at the Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, was Canadian Writer-in-Residence in the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program at the University of Calgary for the 2012-2013 academic year[4], and is currently the Writer in Residence at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Commenting on Willis's work, Alice Munro has said "The emotional range and depth of these stories, the clarity and the deftness, is astonishing."[5]


  1. ^ "The Scotiabank Giller Prize Presents Its 2017 Longlist". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  2. ^ "Penguin Random House Canada". Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  3. ^ Willis, Deborah, Vanishing and other stories, Toronto, Penguin, 2009, p. i.
  4. ^ "Calgary Distinguished Writers Program names Deborah Willis as 2012-2013 Writer-in-Residence | News & Events | University of Calgary". Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  5. ^ Willis, Deborah, Vanishing and other stories, Toronto, Penguin, 2009, cover.

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