Valgardson, William Dempsey

William Dempsey Valgardson, short story writer, novelist, poet (b at Winnipeg, Man 7 May 1939). Raised in Gimli, Man, a heavily Icelandic community, he was educated at U Man and the University of Iowa, and now teaches at U Vic. The characters of his short stories struggle against an often violent natural world and the implacable force of destiny. Bloodflowers (1973), his first collection, was followed by God Is Not a Fish Inspector (1975), Red Dust (1978) and What Can't Be Changed Shouldn't Be Mourned (1990). Though his characters are frequently violent and self-destructive, there are also moments of human triumph in his stories.

Gentle Sinners (1980), Valgardson's first novel, is an account of a young boy's discovery of his ancestry and traditional community. The Girl With the Botticelli Face (1992) is a humorous and moving novel about a writer's effort to affirm his life in a crumbling world. It explores the pain and self-doubt underlying human existence. Valgardson has also published 2 volumes of poetry and 2 children's books, Thor (1994) and Sarah and the People of Sand River (1996).