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  photo credit: Charles Chu

  photo credit: Don Denton

About Peter Oliva

Peter Oliva is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared in Canada, France, Spain, Italy and Japan. His writing has been called "a Calvino-like intersection of art and reality," and "a complex meditation on suffering and love." He has written for numerous periodicals, including BRICK, Canadian Geographic, The Globe & Mail, and Japan's largest newspaper, The Daily Yomiuri.

His first novel was listed by The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature as one of the four "most technically and imaginatively accomplished novels produced between 1983 and 1996." His second novel won numerous awards, including the Writer's Trust of Canada Award for Fiction in 2000.

He was raised in Italy and Canada, and has studied Japanese in Saitama, Japan.

Literary Awards & Certificates

Writers' Trust of Canada, Fiction Prize, for The City of Yes, 2000.

F.G. Bressani Prize, for The City of Yes, 2000.

Georges Bugnet Award for The City of Yes, Writers' Guild of Alberta, 2000.

Canadian Bookseller's Association Award, Bookseller of the Year, 1999.

Profiled as one of Canada's Fifteen Writers to Watch, 1995 (chosen by Southam book editors from Vancouver to Halifax).

Editor's Choice, Book of the Year , The Globe & Mail, 1993 and 1999.

F.G. Bressani Literary Prize Finalist, for Drowning in Darkness, 1994.

WGA Henry Kreisel Award, for Drowning in Darkness, 1994.

A.T.J. Cairns Memorial Scholarship, M.A. degree, University of Calgary, 1989.


Freelance writer (2000-present). Published reviews, interviews, and travel features for The Globe & Mail, Daily Yomiuri (circulation: ten million copies per day), Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Canadian Geographic and others.

Founded an independent bookstore, Pages on Kensington (1994 - 2000). Arranged, promoted and hosted 600 author events, including Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Louis de Bernieres, Alberto Manguel, Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, Timothy Findley, David Adams Richards, Margaret Atwood, Barry Lopez, P.J. O'Rourke, Paul Quarrington, John Ralston Saul, Rohinton Mistry, Douglas Coupland, Marina Warner, Michael Ondaatje, Mark Kingwell, Stevie Cameron, Jane Urquhart, Dave Bidini, Roddy Doyle, P.D. James, Jack Whyte, Russell Banks, Guy Gavriel Kay, David Suzuki, Barbara Coloroso, Joanna Trollope, Anne Michaels, Nino Ricci, Robert Kroetsch, Austin Clarke, Carol Shields, Will Millar (Irish Rover), Wade Davis, Gail Bowen, Al Waxman, Linda McQuaig, Alastair McLeod, Charlie Farquharson, Stevie Cameron and Roberta Bondar. Featured in the Globe & Mail Report on Business magazine, "Literary Coup," Oct. 1998, p. 128-130; and Alberta Report, "Where the elite meet to read," Aug. 21, 1995.

Resident editor, Fiction. Banff Centre for the Arts (September 1999). Mentored numerous writers toward the publication of their work.

Writer-in-Residence, Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Writers' Program, Uof C (1998). Quill & Quire Magazine (1994 - 95). Southern Alberta correspondent. Presently serving as President of the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers, 2004-6.

Served as Advocate Representative to the Writers' Union of Canada, 2002-3.

Served as President of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers 2004-2006, and organized the AICW's 20th Anniversary conference in Vancouver, May 2006.

Founder and director of Poetry In Motion (1999- ), a program to publish poetry on Calgary buses and C-trains in place of advertisements. A partnership with The Canada Council, Calgary Transit and Pattison. Similar programs are now in place across Canada.

Founding member of ExLibris, a partnership dedicated to the enrichment of Calgary culture through books and readings. Sponsored by the Calgary Public Library and Pages on Kensington, 1994 to 2000.

A founder of WordFest, the Calgary Festival of Authors, bringing hundreds of Canadian and international writers to both Calgary and Banff, 1996. Sponsored the Banff Centre's Maclean-Hunter Arts Journalism Faculty, giving International writers a Calgary forum for works-in-progress, 1995-98.

Interviews can be found at:

"D'où est Peter Oliva?"
by Claire Devarrieux Liberation, Paris, January 16, 2003

"Understatements in person and in print"
by Bert Archer, NOW magazine, Toronto, May 13, 1999

"Peter Oliva unmasks The City of Yes,"
cover feature, Fast-forward, April 29, 1999

"In the business of books,"
interview, Calgary Herald, Nov. 29, 1997

"Author mines magical realism,"
by Toronto Star, Sept. 22, 1993

Magazine littéraire,
interview with Minh Tran Huy, No. 420, May 2003

University of Toronto Bookstore Review,
by Maylin Scott, Fall 1999, Vol. 13, No. 1

Profile, Canadian Bookseller Magazine,
by Nancy Jo Cullen, August, 1999

"Intuition of a global traveller." - Tandem Corriere Canadese,
by Alessio Nuvolari, May 2, 1999

© Copyright 2006-2008 Peter Oliva. All Rights Reserved.