Hi. I'm Jane Silcott, a Vancouver writer and editor. I write about the things in life that confound me, mostly in essay form, sometimes made of pieces of my life stitched through with materials from other ways of looking at the world—science, philosophy, art. I am an expert in none of these fields. I go to them to escape the limits of my own mind, to learn, to explore, to find new ways of seeing my own small dilemmas. I think of the essay as a boundlessly generous form that allows writers to experiment with shape, perspective, and even—thinking grandly here and far beyond my pay grade, let alone capability—of thought itself.
My work appears in literary journals and anthologies, and I am the author of a collection of essays called Everything Rustles that touches on questions around ageing, uncertainty, desire, and fear. In 2018, I co-edited an anthology with my friend, poet and creator of award-winning poetry films, Fiona Tinwei Lam. Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups and Downs of Marriage includes 26 works of creative nonfiction and 20 poems by several of my writing heroes. My work has been recognized by the BC Book Prizes for Everything Rustles, the CBC Literary Awards, Room Magazine, and the National and the Western Magazine Awards. I am proud to have worked on several fine books with Caitlin Press and with many students in the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Program at the University of King's College in Halifax, whose work inspires and informs me.
I have worked at many jobs over the years—from driving a catering truck called the Flying Lunch Bucket (best job title ever) to managing The Capilano Review (best union gig and most fun publishing) and finally to mentoring brilliant students in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Program at the University of King's College (best job, full stop). In my off-hours I am chief attendant to a ferocious cat.
Years ago, I graduated from the University of Victoria, BC, with a BA in English and Creative Writing, and many years after that with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. After various experiments in employment—including writing PR copy and managing a literary magazine—I fell into teaching writing, surely the best job there is, one that opens new doors and insights into the workings, not just of other writers' minds, but also of their subjects and hearts—a precious and rare privilege. I am now in my sixth year as a mentor in the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Program at the University of King's College in Halifax. I am also a part-time freelance editor of nonfiction, and in my off-hours a mother, wife, lover of gardens and books, and chief attendant to a ferocious and loving cat.