Candas Jane Dorsey. Supplied
The “BSCL Update” in the November issue of Boyle McCauley News includes this statement: “Our president, Candas Jane Dorsey, has lived in Boyle Street for 16 years. She makes her living as a writer, editor, and teacher of writing and communications courses, but finds time to be active as a community advocate.”
This short bio provides a good overview of Dorsey’s talents and abilities. But there is more – much more – to know about this remarkable person.
There are small things to tell about, such as her habit of chatting amiably with everyone she meets in the ‘hood. Some work in the small local businesses where she tries to be a loyal customer. Some are people she thinks might be potential board members and/or community volunteers. Others are residents of the several places in Boyle Street that serve people who are facing adversity or challenges. For Dorsey, they are all the same. They are all just people.
There are also big things. Dorsey is a published, award-winning writer of novels, short fiction, poetry, essays, articles, and reviews. She received the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Golden Pen award in 2017 and was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association Hall of Fame in October of 2018. ICE, her just-released book of short stories was reviewed positively in The Guardian. (The book launch was held at Audrey’s Books on November 16.)
For more than 40 years Dorsey has been an active member of the literary and other arts communities in Edmonton and beyond. She has been a creative writing teacher, writer in residence, mentor and board member. Her fingerprints are on innumerable arts and literary initiatives and groups – local and international, high art and pop culture, journalism and creative writing. She has been extensively involved with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, the Edmonton Arts Council, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, to name a few.
Dorsey is a founding partner of Wooden Door and Associates, a professional communications company established in 1991. She co-founded an Edmonton-based publishing company, The Books Collective, which released over 100 titles in 14 years.
She currently serves on the boards of the Edmonton Social Planning Council and the Edmonton Heritage Council. It is not surprising, therefore, that Candas often writes on the themes of equality, rights, good manners, and social justice. “Making art can sometimes make the biggest difference,” she says.
Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.