Lesley Choyce

Senior Instructor

Lesley Choyce Profile

Email: lchoyce@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-2729
Mailing Address: 
Room 3049, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO BOX 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
 
Research Topics:
  • Contemporary fiction
  • Creative writing

Education:

  • BA, Rutgers University
  • MA, Montclair State University
  • MA, City University of New York Graduate School.

More Information: Personal Website

Lesley Choyce is the author of over 96 books of literary fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and young adult novels. He runs Pottersfield Press and has worked as editor with a wide range of Canadian authors. Choyce has been teaching English and Creative Writing at Dalhousie and other universities for over thirty years. He has won The Dartmouth Book Award, The Atlantic Poetry Prize and The Ann Connor Brimer Award and has been short-listed for the Governor-General’s Award. He surfs year round in the North Atlantic.

Choyce moved to Canada in 1978 and founded Pottersfield Press, a small literary press located at Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia. Initially, Pottersfield published an annual anthology of writers from Atlantic Canada and soon the press was publishing books by poets and fiction writers throughout the region. Choyce also published his own first poetry book, Reinventing the Wheel (Fiddlehead books) in 1979, as well as a short story collection, Eastern Sure (Nimbus Publishing). By 2018, Choyce had published 94 of his own works and through Pottersfield Press, and over 180 books by other authors. 2018 also marked the fortieth anniversary of Pottersfield Press.

During those forty years, Choyce introduced many first time book authors to the reading public including Maxine Tynes, George Elliott Clarke, Bruce Graham, Jon Tattrie, Joan Baxter, Frank Cameron, Steven Laffoley, Neil Peart, Anthony Sherwood to name a few. As a publisher, editor and teacher, he has mentored many novice writers along the way. Choyce has also published well known authors such as Thomas Raddall, Claire Mowat, Harold Horwood, Daniel Petrie, Sheree Fitch, Budge Wilson, W.P. Kinsella, Ken McGoogan and Wayne Curtis. A number of Pottersfield books went on to win awards for their authors.

His commitment to the writers of the Black and Mi’kmaq communities led to the production of the first anthology of Mi’kmaq writing (co-edited by Choyce and Rita Joe), George Clarke’s first ever two volume anthology of Black Nova Scotia writings, Fire on the Water. Along with John Bell, he co-edited the second ever collection of Canadian Science Fiction, Visions from the Edge, in 1981 as well as other anthologies focusing on fathers, love stories, and the future of the province.

As an author, Choyce has had his work released by publishers large and small and has had at least one book published by a publisher in every Canadian province. He has written and published literary novels, poetry, collection of short stories, children’s books and young adult novels as well as history, memoir, humour and creative nonfiction. Most notably, he is known for his award-winning novel, The Republic of Nothing, and his history of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Shaped by the Sea. His young adult novels have been translated into French, Spanish, Danish, German and Swedish. He has given readings across Canada including Labrador and the Northwest Territories as well as in Ireland and England. The Canadian Consulate in Tokyo hosted him to perform and give talks in schools and Choyce performed (along with Margaret Atwood and others) as part of the Vancouver World’s Fair 1986. At home in the Maritimes, he has given readings and workshops at hundreds of schools over the years.

While writing and publishing, he has also had a distinguished teaching career that began with the City University of New York and after moving to Nova Scotia, teaching stints at Mt. St. Vincent University, NSCAD, St., Mary’s University and Dalhousie University where he has remained a permanent part time instructor since 1983. At Dalhousie, Lesley teaches English in the Transition Year Program for Black and Mi’kmaq students as well as Creative Writing. In 2009 he was awarded the Dalhousie Student Union Award for Teaching Excellence. In his lengthy teaching career he has taught thousands of students. Choyce became a Canadian citizen in 1983. At sixty seven, he continues to write and publish, teach and mentor.

Selected Publications:

  • Re-Inventing the Wheel (Fiddlehead, 1979)
  • Eastern Sure  (Nimbus, 1981)
  • The Republic of Nothing (Goose Lane, 1994, 2003, 2007)
  • Nova Scotia: Shaped by the Sea (Penguin, 1996, 2007)
  • The Mi'kmaq Anthology (ed. with Rita Joe, Pottersfield Press, 1997)
  • I'm Alive. I Believe in Everything (Breton Books, 2012)
  • Crash (Orca Books, 2013)
  • Jeremy Stone (Red Deer Press, 2013)
  • All Alone at the End of the World (Ekstasis Editions, 2014)
  • Kryptonite (Orca, 2018)

Awards and Achievements:

  • The Republic of Nothing was in the Top 40 finalists for CBC's Canada Reads.
  • Atlantic Poetry Prize for best poetry book of the year in the region for collected poems I'm Alive. I Believe in Everything published by Breton Books (2013)
  • Finalist for the Governor General’s Award, 2014.
  • The Order of St. John Award of Merit.
  • Short-listed for The Stephen Leacock Medal, 1987.
  • The Dartmouth Book Award, 1990, 1995; short-listed 1991, 1992, 1993.
  • Poet Laureate for the Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf Tournament, 2000.
  • Best Writer of Halifax (Coast Magazine): 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.
  • Teaching Excellence Award – Dalhousie University Student Union, 2009.