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MELISSA BULL

Writer + Editor + Translator

Melissa Bull is a writer and editor, as well as a French-to-English translator of fiction, essays, and plays. Melissa is the editor of Maisonneuve magazine's "Writing from Quebec" column. Her fiction, nonfiction, interviews, translations, and poetry have also appeared in such publications as Event, Nouveau Projet, Joyland, NewPoetry, SubTerrain, Lemon Hound, Urbania, The Puritan, and Prism International. She is the author of a collection of poetry, Rue (2015), and a collection of fiction, The Knockoff Eclipse (2018). Melissa is the translator of Pascale Rafie’s play, The Baklawa Recipe (2018), Nelly Arcan's collection Burqa of Skin (2014), and her translation of Marie-Sissi Labrèche's novel, Borderline, is forthcoming (2019). Melissa lives in Montreal.    

 

AWARDS + SHORTLISTS

 
Colorful Pattern



Winner of the CBC Hyperlocal Award for a nonfiction piece titled “In the Shadow of the Canada Malting Silos” (2013). Recipient of the Cole Foundation’s Award for Emerging Translator to further a translation of Pascale Rafie’s play, The Baklawa Recipe (2015). Recipient of a Doctorak Go! award for Rue (2016). Recipient of a residency at Cove Park, Scotland, to further a translation of the novel, Borderline (2017).

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Rue was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the Debut-litzer Award, and the Fred Kerner Award.

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The Baklawa Recipe was nominated for a Montreal English-Language Theatre Award for Outstanding New Text: Translation (2018). 

 
Colorful Pattern

"Melissa Bull is George Saunders and Clarice Lispector and Lorrie Moore and none of these people—she's her own vivid, mordant, heartbreaking story-writer, a teller of present and future Montreals, where desire and language and memory tangle in the alleys."
— Sean Michaels,
author of Us Conductors

"In a literary sense, Montreal has always been a city of women. You'll be reminded of that reading Melissa Bull's short, concise little balms/bombs. This is the world I want to inhabit: full of gloriously flawed human beings, singular and part of a brilliant, inclusive weave."
— Sina Queyras,

author of My Ariel


"Stories of women watching women—bulls-eye, without flinching. The Knockoff Eclipse is sensorial, sexy, uncanny. Thrilling line by line spiral into alarm and grotesque. Bull has carved her voice into these texts."

— Tamara Faith Berger,

author of Maidenhead


"In The Knockoff Eclipse, Melissa Bull captures the city of Montreal: its myths, history, languages, and energy. Reminiscent of Gallant's Montreal Stories, these tales grasp the grit of a contemporary Montreal and all of its human struggles: resigned love, strained familial relationships, the obsessions of a young girl, and the search for solace. Against the backdrop of the urban cold, Bull's characters are drawn out with warmth and heart. Contrary to its title, this collection is luminous."

— Gillian Sze,

author of Panicle


"In these stories of a present and future Montreal, Melissa Bull draws sharp balances between longing and despair, grace and loss, both the sweat and the fruit of a life. The people who inhabit them live with ghosts who will not leave, and their languages run slalom up and down a reader’s senses. I return to these stories like one returns to the moment they opened their eyes from a dream—that search, that quick sadness, and then a flood of light."

— Chelsea Rooney,

author of Pedal 

"Bull’s eye is unfailingly precise, and the best of these stories distill warped vectors of humanity into dry-ice absurdity and pitiful rawness. This knack for cataloguing unfairness and grubby immobility on every scale, from the macroeconomic to the domestic, makes for addictive reading."

— Paige Cooper,

author of Zolitude


"Rooted in the sensual life of Montreal—its cafés, bars, parks, streets—these stories extend into the cruelties and vulnerabilities of intimate life. They are unflinching portrayals of the way that power structures relationships as well as psyches, whether this is the girl who fantasizes herself as an amputee or the woman who gives birth to her heart. Wry, weird, and funny, Melissa Bull's collection looks at how we are deeply entangled with place as well as with each other. Holding fast to the sense, these stories are compassionate, dark, and true."

— Alison Winch,

author of Trouble

PRAISE FOR RUE

 
Colorful Pattern

"Loaded with grief and delight, with love and death, with sex and solitude, the world of Melissa Bull's poetry explores the abundance of human experience. In language that is both playful and whip-smart, we are invited into her world, her city, her most intimate rooms. With wit and sincerity she celebrates and mourns, and we are lucky to witness each and every breath."
— Suzanne Hancock,
author of Another Name for Bridge and Cast from Bells

"Melissa Bull's Rue is a riot. Gritty, edgy, with a linguistic and emotional sensibility sharpened to a fine point in Montreal, Rue could have been written nowhere else. What wit, what playful, startling, and yes, rueful observations. Rue is a careening road trip through a life that is painfully aware of its own absurdities while fully in command of language as a force '‘to shape and use.'"
— Rachel Rose,

Vancouver Poet Laureate

and author of Giving My Body to Science,

Notes on Arrival and Departure, and Song and Spectacle

"In Rue, memories are tied up in the intersections of city streets and meaning is caught between the English (to rue meaning 'to regret') and the French (la rue or 'the street.') Bull's poetry ploughs through the streets of St. Henri, Montreal and knocks down the boundaries between languages as well as between places and their memories. ... everything in Rue, whether long-past or yet to come, feels sharply and violently present, like a 'bruise, a tongue curling under it.' In the end, every poem in Rue is a fragmented dialogue, a piece of (mis)communication: 'Tonight I saw a movie where a couple argues, / no holds barred, the way we do, / and then laces themselves / tentatively back together again, the way we do.' But even Bull's vulnerabilities rebound as strengths, 'unsheafed / unleavened umbilicus shrimp,' and her words strongly resist de(con)struction."

Contemporary Verse 2


"Underlying the heterogeneous feel of Rue lies a restless unity, a thread of searching that evokes something profound, shared, human. Authentic. Melissa Bull’s artistic sensitivity and exploratory style have yielded a vivid portrait of a person, of the places and people that make up a person."

— Jordan Dessertine,

Montreal Serai


"If you visualize the prose poem as a canvas, given its rectangular shape on the page, then reading Melissa Bull’s debut collection, Rue, is like experiencing an installation in an underground gallery with all your senses brought to high alert. The lighting is demanding (think strobe), subjects raw and frisson-inducing, landscapes more urban than not, accompanied by the 'perpetual groan of engines from the highways behind the traintracks.' If you believe that art is the honest expression of significant particularities, the poems in Rue are exquisitely artful."

— Cora Siré,

Arc Poetry Magazine


CONTACT

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