Sean Virgo

Seán Virgo was born in Malta, and grew up in South Africa, Malaya, Ireland and the U.K. He immigrated to Canada in 1966 and became a citizen in 1972. He has lived on Haida Gwaii, Newfoundland, various Gulf Islands, the Bruce Peninsula and for a decade in Southwest Saskatchewan. Virgo has published a number of works of both poetry and fiction, most recently, A Traveller Came By (2000); nonagon fugue ( 2007); and, Begging Questions (2007). He has read his work around the world, and has worked as a writing teacher, actor, and television host.

 

 

 

 


Books


 

NOVEL
168 pages / paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available

REVIEWS


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ISBN: 978-1-927068-06-9
List Price: $18.95

Sean Virgo

 Seán Virgo knows the power of short fiction. He knows that the act of story-telling is hardwired into human consciousness and that the well-told story can appear in various shapes and sizes. The full force of Virgo’s writing energy in Dibidalen is directed by this knowledge. We see this clearly in the exquisite simplicity in the collection’s opening pieces — “Before Ago” and “Eggs in a Field” — where he uses verse fable and folktale interchangeably forging the stories’ links to a preliterate oral culture. Other stories employ the power of allegory as witnessed in “Shark Mother” and “The Scapegoat”. Here Virgo employs traditional transcendentalism to allow nature to open a deeper understanding of human affairs. How does a boy transform into a shark? Why was the woodsman abandoned in the deserted city? Virgo’s commitment to the form’s mercurial possibilities continues in “The Doorway” and “The Castaway” where the reader must grapple with how to personalize archetypal symbols in order to understand a woman’s fate, or assign meanings to the actions of a doubting priest to realize his destiny. Again in “Rendezvous” and “Gramayre” we discover a blended mix of fantasy and magical realism where fusions of the everyday, the illusory, the mythical, and the morbid blur traditional distinctions between what happened and what we think happened. Finally, in Virgo’s most extrapolated stories, “The Likeness” and “Dibidalen”, we are led on with the fractures and abstractions of the narratives that redirect each story’s unexpected conclusion. The result is a fascinating dance between reader and text that is as rewarding as it is challenging, reminding us of what Anaïs Nin meant when she said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

  • Shortlisted for the 2013 Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction
  • Shortlisted for the 2013 ReLit Award for Short Fiction

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short fiction

256 pages/trade paper

Available in the US
World Rights Available

ISBN: 978-1-894345-19-4
List Price: $15.95

Sean Virgo


This collection of ten stories by one of Canada's foremost fiction writers is designed to be a bedside book for people living with death.

In his challenging, affirmative introduction Seán Virgo suggests: “We prepare best for death, surely by loving life.” He refuses to accept the taboos and terrors which Western societies have erected around death: “Dying people are vitally concerned with life, if they're allowed. They are not lepers, or saints, or objects. And if they need stories about Death, too, it must be because the folklore of Death has withered, gone down in the twentieth-century with so many other dialects. Even humour, mankind's dance with taboo, has failed in this area for most of us. And with that dialect has been lost the sense of relationship with the dead that I've envied in older cultures.”

These stories express the full range of that dialect, from heartbreak to raunchy comedy, with more than a few speculations about what lies across the border of "the undiscovered country". Each story is prefaced with an intimate personal account of how it came to be written, and what it now means to the author.

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