Burnard, Bonnie

Bonnie Burnard, short story writer (b at Petrolia, Ont 15 Jan 1945). She is the author of 2 books of short fiction and one novel. The stories of her first collection, Women of Influence (1988), which won the Commonwealth Best First Book Award, feature female protagonists living through personal crises that involve death, loss and fear. In the title story, the narrator, who faces the imminent deaths of her mother and her aunt, becomes the bearer of messages between them, establishing new understandings that heal both speakers and listeners; the text draws the reader's attention to the smaller narratives within the larger story. This self-reflexive investigation of the impact and reception of narratives is central to Casino and Other Stories (1994), a collection that explores what we look at, the gazes we solicit and how they affect us. Burnard skilfully dramatizes such subjects as the insidious nature of time and illness, the unpredictable power of sexual desire and the wordless tensions that erode relationships between parents and children. Burnard has also edited 2 anthologies of short fiction, The Old Dance: Love Stories of One Kind or Another (1986) and Stag Line: Stories by Men (1995). Her first novel, A Good House (1999), chronicles a southern Ontario family and the occasions of happiness and grief within the lives of its interconnected members. It won the Giller Prize.