Photo: Don Hall

In the north of Saskatchewan,  just south of Waskesiu, to be exact, I was born in a Red Cross Hospital. My parents were Canadian born children of immigrants, the English, my father; and the Croatian, my mother. My Croatian grandfather arrived in 1903; the photograph of his growing family, six years later, the cover image of the book, Croatians in Canada (Rasporich, M&S, 1982). He farmed, read, translated and later, in a regular circuit, visited his nine daughters and their families. After a stop in Canada in 1909, my English grandparents moved to Detroit where my father grew up. His brother, Oswald King, a Benedictine monk was my godfather, whom I loved visiting as a child at St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster, and later when I participated in many of Saskatchewan Writers Guild writing retreats at St Pete’s.

I grew up in a large family, in and around Saskatoon. One summer I worked at SaskPower, in Regina where I met, and married, my Engineer husband and soon had three children. As they grew I read, and studied — at the Regina Conservatory and the fledgling University of Regina; I also followed in my mother’s footsteps working as an advocate, for whatever was required, from roads to education. This led to regular social commentary on CBC radio, and though I’d lived in books (and the prairie) all of my life, I didn’t think of the commentaries as “writing.”

In 1977, while I was working in communications and public programming at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, events transpired that led to my first writing class. It was a blessing; at the Saskatchewan School of the Arts at Ft San, my instructors were Lorna Crozier and my future mentor, Eli Mandel. The following year, my instructor was Anne Szumigalski. Writers Colonies, six poetry books, lots of publications, editing work, and rewarding reviews followed. My “day job,” was at the MacKenzie Art Gallery,  later the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, and finally at the Regina Public Library as a member of the six person management team where I felt I had the best job: Department Head of all library Special Services. This  included Literacy training (at the time the largest program in Canada); an inner city Aboriginal-focussed branch library; services to visually impaired and homebound patrons; public relations, and all adult public programming, including the Writer in Residence program, the first in a library in Canada.

After a (rule of 80) early retirement I began work at the Archdiocese of Regina as Coordinator of Ecumenism, working with multiple faith traditions for common cause, whether reconciliation or diverse social justice issues. After another early retirement I was invited to become a Research Fellow at the Canadian Plains Research Centre where I worked on a number of projects, including research for a biographical memoir of the famed Regina Five artist, Arthur McKay, and with artists Jeannie Mah and Lorne Beug, developed and edited the multi-award winning nonfiction book, Regina’s Secret Spaces: love and lore of local geography; and more recently, with Jeannie Mah and Susan Birley, edited Biblio Files, a history of the Regina Public Library. 

During all of this time, while writing and editing, I advocated for the arts; presented at conferences and other venues; developed community events with Nicolle Nugent, at the MacKenzie Art Gallery; and served on writing and community boards – for over ten years, the Wascana Centre Authority Heritage committee. I tromped the prairie, watched film, listened to music, and enjoyed visual art. I continue to enjoy good friends and have fine times with my three kids, their spouses, and my grandkids. 

In one of my more recent poems it came upon me that I had found or confirmed a home; it happened midway between Saskatoon and Regina, precisely on Highway Number 11, in the midst of the apricot coloured sky and fields of grain, all of us breathing together.

For a CV summary, you can contact me at anne@annecampbell.ca