23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Brian Brett
© Hartwig Klappert

Brian Brett

Brian Brett was born in Vancouver in 1950. Inspired by a collection of Arthur Rimbaud’s poems, which were given to him by an English teacher, he began to write his own poems at 17. He studied literature at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby. Subsequently, he worked as a lecturer and critic, commentator and reporter for several Canadian daily newspapers and magazines. In 1974 he initiated the British Columbia poetry-in-schools program and has since given many workshops and courses on creative writing.

In addition to his journalism career, he published numerous books of poetry and prose, including his debut novel »The Fungus Garden« (1988) and the collection of short stories, »Tanganyika« (1991). Poetic and loaded with ethical discourse, the cross-genre crime novel, »Coyote« (2003) follows a man stalking and killing ecologists until he encounters Coyote, a retired eco-terrorist hiding out in a tree house. Brett’s celebrated autobiographical writings, »Uproar’s Your Only Music« (2004) and »Trauma Farm« (2009), detail episodes from rural life, and celebrating his troubled youth as a street child with nuanced, thoughtful and yet always accessible language. Inspired by an expedition to the Yukon Territory in North-western Canada with its remote network of whitewater rivers, Brett conceived the illustrated book of poems »The Wind River Variations« (2012). The prose poems in this volume revolve around our complex relationship with nature. While the free verse transports the reader to the sublime beauty of untouched realms and creates a balance between scepticism and hope. Currently, Brett has just completed the final volume in his autobiographical, non-linear trilogy: »Tuco and the Scattershot World: A Life with Birds and Others.« Which, among many stories, recounts twenty-five years of writing in the same room with a parrot named Tuco. Brett’s writings have also been published in two dozen anthologies, and numerous magazines.

Brett has released two CDs of his »Talking Songs«, in which his unique chanting is accompanied by an eclectic mix of jazz, punk and folk with influences ranging from the Celtic to the Asian and featuring tributes to Kurt Weill and Philip Glass. He was president of the Writer’s Union of Canada and is a member of PEN International, the League of Canadian Poets and the Federation of BC Writers. His awards include the Canadian Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize (2009), the IPPY Bronze Medal (2010), the CBC Poetry Prize (2011) and the British Columbia Lieutenant-Governor’s Prize for Literary Excellence (2012). Brett lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.


The Fungus Garden Thistledown Saskatoon, 1988

Coyote. A Mystery Thistledown Saskatoon, 2003

Uproar’s Your Only Music ExileToronto, 2004

Trauma Farm A Rebel History of Rural Life GreystoneVancouver, 2009

The Wind River Variations OolichanFernie, 2012