Dennison is my given name, a family name worn as a first name. It’s the surname of a clutch of immigrants building coffins to pay the way between Ellis Island and Iowa, and a lone ancestor closing his garden gate on a patch of blighted potatoes before walking to the Belfast port. I’ve often had the feeling that my name was my first story.
My novel, The Eye of the Day, was published by Harper Collins Canada February 2014. To read reviews, click on the page entitled ‘Eye of the Day’ or to learn where the story came from, you’ll find, beneath it, ‘Encyclopedia of the Eye,’ and more personally, ‘Life & Words.’
My first novel, Scavenger was published by Insomniac Press, Toronto and presented in play form as Desert Story at the Groundswell Festival at Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre. A collection of poetry, Anon Necessity, appeared in limited edition with LyricalMyrical of Toronto. A wider collection, Fermata, came out with Quattro Press October 2012. I was the winner of the Stand International Short Story award in England, and the Francis Lerner Author’s Award for Performance Literature and the Agnes Nixon Award for Playwriting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
In 2011-12, while awaiting the release of The Eye of the Day, I completed my MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. I’ve now been awarded a three year scholarship to pursue my PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. The PhD consists of working on my third novel, The Westward Hours (an excerpt appears in the UEA Creative Writing Anthology 2012) and investigating the relationship between the voices of Sonoran/Chihuahuan desert and Cormac McCarthy. (The Eye of the Day is supported by the Ontario Arts Council and The Westward Hours by the Canada Arts Council, and the bird up in the corner is created by my daughter, artist Oceana Masterman-Smith.)
I used to teach yoga to get the laptop out of my bones and my mind back into my body (as well as put bread on the table). Now I just push the books away and lay out my mat in the living room. I’ve also taught actors to act, directed Chekhov and Shakespeare, played Virginia Woolf, Molly Bloom and Titania.
Originally from Chicago and Vermont, I’ve become a Canadian citizen and split my time between a remote island in Canada where the wolves and cougars thrive, and London England.
For professional queries, I can be reached through The Blake Friedmann Agency, London UK.