Banff Book Discussion Weekend 2024

Marina Endicott

 Marina Endicott, poet, playwright, fiction writer (born at Golden, BC, 1958). Marina Endicott was raised in Nova Scotia and Toronto. Endicott’s first written work was POETRY, “though I never showed it to a soul.” After graduating from the UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO with a BA in drama, Endicott travelled to England to experience the stages of west end London. When not auditioning for small parts, she wrote. Returning to Canada two years later, in 1985, Endicott managed the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre while continuing to craft her fiction writing.

In 1993 Marina Endicott was nominated for the JOURNEY PRIZE for her short story “With The Band,” and in 2001 she published her first NOVELOpen Arms, short-listed for the Amazon/Books In Canada First Novel award in 2002. The work traces the story of young Bessie Smith as she survives her upbringing with a poet father who abandons the family to pursue his romantic ideals, and a wild mother who scrapes a living with a third rate band.

With her husband, a member of the RCMP, Endicott settled in MAYERTHORPE, Alberta. Following the 2005 killing of four RCMP officers there, she wrote the long poem Policeman’s Wife, Some Letters, which was shortlisted for a CBC Literary Prize in 2006. In the poem Endicott reveals the cost of loving and waiting for a police officer over the expanses of the Canadian PRAIRIES: “More than my own death I am afraid of yours,/ to suffer that great absence…/ I pray that death be kind, be late, be changed to breath.”

Marina Endicott believes she does her best writing “at home in Canada….anywhere in Canada really.” Although commissioned to write plays (seeDRAMA), and having served as a dramaturge at the BANFF CENTRE for the Arts, Endicott suggests “I’m no kind of playwright.” Yet her novels contain a theatrical sensibility, seen in her illumination of her characters’ inner lives as she subtly explores the intersection of their dreams and realities. Her penetrating observations make us care for her characters, because we recognize the truth of our own, ordinary selves being played out. Endicott uses a light touch when expressing her characters’ profound turning points, portraying the arrival of the unexpected with little warning, immediately demanding we give more of ourselves to one another.

Endicott’s next novel, Good to a Fault, was a finalist for the 2008 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE and won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, Canada and the Caribbean. Her domestic setting casts in relief the extraordinary act of her protagonist: taking into her home and her life a complex family of strangers. The Little Shadows, Endicott’s third novel, was longlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize and a finalist for a 2011 GOVERNOR GENERAL’S LITERARY AWARD. Here, Endicott immerses us in the vaudeville stages of the Canadian prairies at the opening of the FIRST WORLD WAR. Three sisters, Aurora, Bella and Clover, with their widowed mother Flora, devise a harmony act, singing sentimental songs to rowdy, unsentimental audiences while meeting a cast of characters on and off stage, breaking their hearts and learning hard lessons.

As a writer, Endicott believes she is an interior detective, asking, “what is it like to wait behind the curtain, to watch another fail, to feel success for the first time, to lose everything and carry on?” For Endicott, “novels are the best way to think of the world, to know the world.” Marina Endicott continues to write in Edmonton, Alberta.

Banff Book Discussion Weekend 2024