Department of English

University of Toronto

Winter, Michael

Michael WinterMichael Winter
The Jack McClelland Writer-in-Residence 2011-2012
Office Location: House V, Room 6. Massey College
Office Phone: 416-978-4519
Office Hours and/or Leave Status: W2-5

"Michael Winter's writing blows my mind---it's sharp and hard and beautiful and so completely original."
--Miriam Toews, author of
A Complicated Kindness

Michael Winterwas born in Jarrow, England in 1965. His father was an industrial arts teacher who moved the family to Newfoundland three years later, settling in Corner Brook. Michael went to Memorial University of Newfoundland where he received a Bachelor of Arts in economic geography. He was a founding member of The Burning Rock Collective, a group of writers that includes Ramona Dearing and Lisa Moore, and served as editor-in-chief for their first collection, Extremities (1994). For eight years Michael was also the co-editor of Newfoundland's premier literary journal, Tickle Ace.

Michael is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories. His first short story collection, Creaking in Their Skins, was published in 1994. Readers met here for the first time Gabriel English, Michael's alter-ego and the protagonist of several of his books.

This All HappenedIn 1999, John Metcalf at The Porcupine's Quill published Michael's second book, One Last Good Look,a collection of stories about the young Gabriel English amid his friends, girlfriends, and family. In 2000 Michael published This All Happened, a "fictional memoir" that follows the adult Gabriel through the streets, pubs, and art galleries of St John's over the course of a single year.

Michael movedto Toronto in 1999, where he published his first two novels: This All Happened (2000) and The Big Why (2004). The Big Why (2004) is a fictional account of the American artist Rockwell Kent and the tumultuous time he spent in Brigus, Newfoundland, in 1914. Told by Kent himself, the novel also conveys provocative portrayals of his encounters with Arctic explorer Bob Bartlett and Newfoundland historian Judge D.W. Prowse.
The Architects Are Here
Michael's third novel, The Architects Are Here, returns to Gabriel English in his mid-30s and sets him on a road trip from Toronto back to Corner Brook with a best friend who's cheating with his girlfriend, a stuffed fox full of gold, a hitchhiking dog, and a Taser in the trunk.

His most recent novel is The Death of Donna Whalen (2010), a "documentary fiction" that uses court transcripts to tell the story of a notorious St. John's murder trial.

Prizes and honours


The Death of Donna WhalenShort Fiction

  • Creaking in Their Skins (1994)
  • One Last Good Look (1999)
  • This All Happened (2000)
  • The Big Why (2004)
  • The Architects are Here (2007)
  • The Death of Donna Whalen (2010)

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