A-R International: Eugene Stickland

Eugene Stickland
Authors-Readers International

I arrived in Calgary in 1994 when I began a ten year residency at Alberta Theatre Projects, establishing a reputation as one of western Canada’s most prominent playwrights. All in all, I have written twenty plays, some of which have been produced many times across North America and beyond. My play Queen Lear, for example, had a two year run in Istanbul in Turkish translation and is currently running in Russia in Russian translation. While still at ATP, I began writing a feature column for the Calgary Herald’s Saturday Entertainment Section which allowed me to write about theatre and any other arts-related topics I chose for a potential weekly audience of up to half a million people. At the same time, I have always had a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring the next generation. I have taught or held residencies at a number of institutions and situations, including the National Theatre School of Canada, the University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal University, York University and the University of Regina. I was for ten years writer in residence at St. Mary’s University in Calgary where I taught creative writing, both drama and prose. For a number of years I was the Canadian delegate to the World Interplay Festival in Australia and in that capacity worked with and mentored young playwrights from around the world. In 2015 I published my first novel, The Piano Teacher, which was awarded the 2016 W. O. Mitchell Award. I am currently writing a new book titled In My Time of Dying and a play about Saskatchewan-born American artist Agnes Martin, titled Agnes.

2018 – 2020 – Last year I worked with the Stardale Woman’s Group to oversee the writing of The Make Believer Project that was produced numerous times throughout Calgary in May and June of 2018. This involved encouraging and guiding some twenty First Nations adolescent girls to share their experience of growing up in Calgary, and then creating a script from their writings. This year I am working on a new project with them titled The Road.

2020 – Overseeing publication of my play First and Last by St Mary’s University Press.  It was to have been launched in April, 2020, although now this is going to be more virtual than actual.

2019 – I am finishing a new novel, In My Time of Dying, which I expect will be published in the fall of 2020.

2016 -2019 – Collaborated with Calgary musician Morag Northey to help her create and perform her theatre piece titled 17, which we performed in BC, around Calgary and in Taos, New Mexico.   We will be consolidating and publishing the script this fall.

2017, 2019 — Appeared as the ghostly presence of Gordon Lightfoot in Alberta Ballet’s Our Canada. This season, I made an appearance in Alberta Ballet’s Frankenstein, October, 2019.

2009 – 2018. Instructor of creative writing and Writer in Residence at St. Mary’s University College, Calgary, AB.

2009 – Present. Instructor of English and Canadian Culture at Alberta Business & Educational Services. I teach a class of Internationally Trained Professionals, mostly doctors, to help them integrate into the Canadian medical system. In this capacity I have taught students from some forty countries and learned much about the experience of immigrants in Calgary.

2008 – Present. Founding Editor of B House Publications, a boutique publishing house based in Calgary with a mandate to publish plays, poetry, spoken word compilations and other work we feel is deserving of publication. Our first book was my play Writer’s Block, published in April, 2009.  Our most recent publication was my novel The Piano Teacher, which was awarded the 2016 W.O. Mitchell Award.

2003 – 2009. Featured Guest Columnist for The Calgary Herald “City Scene” Column. I have also written features for various magazines in Calgary such as Alberta Views and Avenue Magazine.

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I didn’t meet Eugene Stickland in person until I was back in Calgary, around 2010 or so, and was promoting Authors and their books directly through Alberta Books Canada. As I remember, that meeting was made possible through a mutual friend at Caffe Beano, Eugene’s coffee spot of choice … where I like to think of him as the Artist-in-Residence. Eugene was founding editor of an independent company called B House Publications and I remember attending a “street” launch outside Beano‘s celebrating all the books they had published to date. I promoted Eugene on Reading Recommendations after he published his novel The Piano Teacher, which went on to win the W.O. Mitchell Award in 2016. Come to think of it, I have only ever met with Eugene at Caffee Beano over coffee. That’s the book business for you, in a nutshell!

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First and Last

First and Last was commissioned for St. Mary’s University, and premiered in 2017. The successful run was followed by a performance by Company of Rogues Theatre in Calgary that same year.

“First and Last” is a new comedy by highly acclaimed Calgary-based playwright and novelist Eugene Stickland. At the heart of “First and Last” is displacement, loss, the search for sanctuary and the nature of belonging.

Recording artist Lenny returns from a West Coast tour to find his apartment empty of both furniture and his girlfriend. He’s heartbroken. While trying to write his next album people begin to show up at his door with lease in hand. A young couple, a hipster, a synchronized swim team and 2 refugees all lay claim to the same sanctuary – Lenny’s apartment. Hilarious and touching , “First and Last” is a welcome return of Eugene’s Stickland’s warm and human world to the stage. Almost a world premiere!

The first-ever Eugene-A-Thon was held on Wordfest‘s Facebook page June 18th, a  6-hour fundraiser, featuring Eugene Stickland at Caffee Beano, in support of teen literacy and arts education. And to promote the publication of his new book! You may watch some of the video here.

Here’s a great article in The Guardian, a Saltwire Publication, about how this Eugene-A-Thon came to be

Lisa Wilton of CKUA Radio interviewed Eugene Stickland about this play in April 2020.

What Eugene Stickland has been doing lately: Eugene has been painting! Check out this blog post for a sample of some of the art he has created.

You may see more information about Eugene Stickland on his website.

Eugene Stickland was previously a guest on Reading Recommendations in May 2015.

4 responses

  1. What an impressive CV! I love how creative folks get involved with many different projects. Mr. Stickland is very talented!

  2. Hi Susan,

    Man, that looks wonderful. Thank you so much for honouring me in this way. Thanks for all you do!

    Stay safe!!

    Eugene

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    1. Thank YOU for wanting to participate in this series, Eugene! So happy to help you, and all the other Authors, receive some attention worldwide for the work that you do!

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