Michael V Smith, MFA


Creative Studies, Creative Writing
Other Titles: Creative Writing
Office: CCS 343
Phone: 250.807.9706
Email: Michael.V.Smith@ubc.ca

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Poetry, novel, short fiction, creative nonfiction/memoir, short film, video poems, writing with digital media (ie Twitter, Instagram, video, podcasting, audio installation, etc.)

Courses & Teaching

CRWR 474 Writing with Media, 473 Editing and Publishing, 250 Screenwriting, 219 Nonfiction, 216 Poetry, 210 Power of Story, 160 Fiction and Drama


Michael V. Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, working as a writer, filmmaker, and performance artist. His most recent book is Bad Ideas, published by Nightwood Editions in 2017.

As writer, Michael V. Smith works with small town stories, examining issues of class, identity, community and belonging. His novel, Cumberland (Cormorant Books), was nominated for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. His first book of poetry, What You Can’t Have (Signature Editions), was nominated for the ReLit Prize. My Body Is Yours, Smith’s memoir of growing up queer and femme, was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award.

Working interdisciplinarily, he’s published a hybrid book of concrete poems (which are photographs) titled Body of Text, created with David Ellingsen. Smith + Ellingsen have also been working on other hybrid works, Swap and the Tickle Trunk Project, marrying performance art with photography, to examine the currencies and constructions of identities.

In recent years, Smith’s short videos have played around the world, in cities such as Milan, Dublin, Turin, London, New York, Toronto, Paris, Geneva, Buenos Aires, SF, LA and Bombay.

As a performer, Smith focuses on small stage work, usually mixing any combination of drag, improv, stand-up comedy, and audience-participation work. He has performed in festivals and galleries in Berlin, Bielefeld, Seattle, San Francisco, Toronto, Utrecht, Vancouver, Montreal, and Los Angeles.




MFA in Creative Writing from UBC Vancouver. Thesis: Screenwriting; BA, Combined Honours in English and Drama Studies, from Glendon College, the bilingual campus of York University.

Selected Publications & Presentations


Bad Ideas, Nightwood Editions, 2017

Body of Text, with David Ellingsen, BookThug, 2008

What You Can’t Have, Signature Editions, 2006


Progress, Cormorant Books, 2011

Cumberland, Cormorant Books, 2002


My Body Is Yours, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015

Selected Exhibitions

Michael V. Smith (Artist), David Ellingsen (Artist). [50% authorship] Show title: Tickle Trunk Project. Venue: Jeffrey Boone Gallery. Presentation date: Feb, 2006. Curator: Jeffrey Boone. Peer-assessed venue.

Verstehen, group show. Campbell River Art Gallery, July-August 2015.

Michael V. Smith (Artist), David Ellingsen (Artist). [50% authorship] Show title: Works from the Interior. Works: Body Of Text, 3 images. Venue: AHVA Library Gallery, UBC Vancouver. Presentation date: Jan, 2011.

Michael V. Smith (Artist), David Ellingsen (Artist). [50% authorship] Show title: Boundaries. Works: Body Of Text, 3 images. Venue: Kelowna Art Gallery. Curator: Liz Wylie. Peer-assessed venue. Presentation date: Nov, 2008.

Selected Grants & Awards

British Columbia Arts Council, Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes, short fiction collection, $6,000, 2018

Equity Office, Equity Enhancement Grant, $6000, 2018

Canada Council for the Arts, Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes, short fiction collection, $24,000, 2017

Hampton Grant Research Grant, Sound Can Project European tour, $20,000, 2011

Equity Office, Equity Enhancement Grant, $5000, 2008

Canada Council for the Arts, Progress, novel, $18,000, 2007

Canada Council for the Arts, Cumberland, novel, $10,000, 2001

British Columbia Arts Council, What We Wanted, poetry, $5000, 2000

Canada Council for the Arts, What We Wanted, poetry, $10,000, 1999

Awards & Distinctions

Lambda Literary Award, Finalist  Award Gay Memoir/Biography, Lambda Literary Foundation, 2016

Rainbow Awards, Runner-up, Memoir Award, Rainbow Awards society, 2016

Okanagan Arts Award, Creative Writing  Award, 2016

Dayne Ogilvie Award for Emerging Gay Writers,  The Writers’ Trust of Canada, $4000, 2007

ReLit Award, Poetry Nomination Shortlist, 2007

Best Canadian Female Short Award, Inside Out Toronto Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival, $1000, 2005

Colin Campbell Award for Best Canadian Male Short, Inside Out Toronto Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival, $1000, 2005

Visual Artist of the Year, Vancouver Pink Triangle Press Community Award, 2005

Third Prize Jury’s Choice, University of Oregon Queer Film Festival, 2005

Western Magazine Gold Award for Fiction, Western Magazine Awards Foundation, $1000, 2004

Zed People’s Choice Shorts Award, Out On Screen, $500, 2004

The Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize Nomination Shortlist, The Writers’ Trust of Canada & McClelland & Stewart Publisher, 2004

DIY Digital Video Project Award, Out On Screen, $500, 2003

Writer of the Year, Vancouver Pink Triangle Press, 2003

Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award Nominee, $750, 2003

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

Living Positive Resource Centre, volunteer

The Writers Union of Canada and League of Canadian Poets, member

Writers Trust Authors Advisory Group, member

Graduate Supervisions

Richard Amante, MFA Creative Writing, he Porthole (memoir)

Erin Scott, MFA Interdisciplinary Studies,Truth or Consequences (audience-participation theatre)

Miriam Huxley, MFA Creative Writing, White Rock (novel)

Clayton McCann, MFA Interdisciplinary Studies, The Burdens of Pleasure: Creative nonfiction from Canada’s Illicit Cannabis Production Industry

Cassandra Campeau-Bouthillier, MFA Interdisciplinary Studies between two (poetry)

Kristin Burns, MFA  Interdisciplinary Studies The Business of Flowering Trees (novel)

Lorna Tureski, MFA Interdisciplinary Studies, Mud Bay Flats (novel)


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