Anne Fleming grew up in Toronto and lived in Kitchener, Ontario for several years before moving to Vancouver, where she received her MFA from the University of British Columbia. In Vancouver she read scripts for CBC television, reviewed books and theatre for The Georgia Straight, and taught creative writing at UBC, Emily Carr Institute, Kwantlen University College, and Douglas College, with additional stints at the Victoria School of Writing and the Banff Centre for the Arts Wired Writing Studio. In 2005 she moved to Kelowna, BC, to teach at the newly formed UBC Okanagan.
Her first book, Pool-Hopping and Other Stories, published in 1998, was shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Danuta Gleed Award. Anomaly, a novel, came out in 2005.
Her fiction has been commissioned by CBC Radio, and widely published in magazines and anthologies, including Toronto Life magazine, The Journey Prize Stories, and The New Quarterly, where it won a National Magazine Award. She once had a very nice rejection from The New Yorker for a story that now appears in her latest collection, Gay Dwarves of America.
She also writes poetry and children’s books, plus the occasional stage play and screenplay.
She likes to cross-country ski and play the ukulele, although not necessarily at the same time.
Alternate Bios — Choose Your Own!
Anne Fleming grew up in Southern Ontario idolizing the directors at her YWCA summer camp, two self-sufficient lesbians who raised goats and chickens and built their own kayaks. Later, she started writing. She’s published three books of fiction for adults, Pool-Hopping and Other Stories, the novel Anomaly, and Gay Dwarves of America, which have been nominated for many nice awards, including the Governor-General’s Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and one novel for children, The Goat. poemw is her first book of poems.
Anne Fleming tans blotchily, like Alice B. Toklas, and worships homemade cassettes. Her poetic sensibilities are founded on “The Large Dark Aardvark Song.”
Peanut Buttery (2005):
Anne Fleming’s second book, Anomaly, is a novel about two sisters growing up in Toronto in the 70s and 80s. As a teenager, she ate grilled peanut butter sandwiches and played ringette.
Anne Fleming was born and raised in Toronto, the city that features prominently in Anomaly and the city her great-grandfather was mayor of in the 1890s, the city that continues to enthrall and fascinate her, though she now lives some place completely different.
At age 7 she became a Sprite in the 344th Toronto Brownie Pack. Loved semaphore, hated having to wear skirts and say “tu-whit tu-whit tu-whoo.” Often she skipped Brownies to play foosball or climb out on the roof or wing beanbags at the other Brownies from behind the stage-curtain.
At age nine she was was brought home by police for breaking into the school.
At ten, under the Mount Pleasant bridge, she was put in a headlock by grade sevens, who thought she was a boy and threw lit matches at her head for fun until one of her friends went and got an older brother.
A year or two later, her neighbour sustained major injuries when pinned by a fallen piano up at the school.
In grade nine she fell in love with drumlins and eskers, leading five years later to a short-lived career in geography at the University of Waterloo, and a long-standing interest in land use and aerial photography, which she has given to the father in Anomaly, who has a collection of aerial photographs of Toronto.
After not-quite failing first year geography she spent a term on the graveyard shift at the Yonge and Eglinton Kitchen Table grocery store before returning to Waterloo, this time in English. She began to write inane rhyming poems to amuse her friends, and later, inane stories to amuse her friends, and later still stories and poems not meant to be inane and not meant just for her friends.
After graduating, she pieced together a living in the Kitchener-Waterloo area creating electronic site maps and doing technical editing plus the occasional bout of soil sampling for an environmental consulting firm.
In 1991, she and her partner, Cindy Holmes, moved to Vancouver, for Anne to do the creative writing MFA at UBC. They ended up staying until this year, when they and their two-year-old will move to Kelowna and Anne will begin teaching creative writing at the newly formed UBC Okanagan.
After graduating from UBC, the only paying work she could find was at Mountain Equipment Co-op where she spent three years having great conversations while security-tagging fleece jackets with the other artists who worked in backstock.
In 1995 she started the sessional teaching she’s done on and off ever since, with stints at UBC, Emily Carr Institute, Kwantlen University College, Douglas College, the Victoria School of Writing and the Banff Centre’s Wired Writing Studio.
Unfortunately, her teaching schedule prevented her from joining the Vancouver Ukulele Circle.
In 1998, she published Pool-Hopping and Other Stories.