Gerald Hill

Gerald Hill

HILL, GERALD (b. 1951)
Writer, Educator

Gerald (Gerry) Hill was born in 1951 to parents Alice and Don Hill of Herbert, Saskatchewan. Don, an educator and Superintendent of Schools in Herbert, would later move his family to Regina where he worked at the University of Regina until his retirement.

In Regina, Hill attended Massey School and Campbell Collegiate. Upon graduation from Campbell in 1968, just 16, he studied for two years at University of Regina in the faculty of Administration. At the beginning of his third year, he switched to Arts, then dropped out altogether, moving to Calgary, where he worked for Canada Post as a letter carrier.

Eventually he went back to school at the University of Calgary, completing a Bachelor of Education degree in 1975. He taught junior high Language Arts for two years at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, and then went to Papua New Guinea as a Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO) high school teacher in 1978. He returned to Canada in 1981 and took part in a one year creative writing program at David Thompson University Centre (DTUC) in Nelson, B.C.. The influence of three writers from DTUC - Fred Wah, Tom Wayman and Dave McFadden - remained an influence on Gerald’s evolving writing style.

Hill moved back to Regina in 1982, supporting himself with teaching jobs, and joined the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. He met theatre artist Ruth Smillie at a writing retreat in Fort San. They married in 1984 and moved to Edmonton, where Ruth ran a theatre company and Hill taught adult education; they had three children before ending the marriage in 1992.

In 1990 Hill earned a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Alberta and began work on his Ph.D. (unfinished). Gail Scott, Robert Kroetsch, Daniel Defoe, and Hélène Cixous were subjects of his academic articles; he also earned a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral fellowship.

Freelance writing and editing projects still supplement his income, and annual retreats, to Emma Lake and St. Peter’s Abbey and other residencies, national and international, provide large amounts of writing time. His first poetry collection, Heartwood, was published in 1985 by Thistledown Press in Saskatoon, and by the 1990’s his work had been published in more than two dozen literary magazines as well as several anthologies.

The Man from Saskatchewan, Hill’s second collection, was published in 2001 by Coteau Books as well as a collection of mini-biographies of Saskatchewan men killed in World War II, Their Names Live On, published by the Canadian Plains Research Centre with Doug Chisholm. Gerald Hill’s third collection, Getting To Know You, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry in 2004, and My Human Comedy was published by Coteau in 2008. Hill’s next poetry collection, 14 Tractors, was published in 2009 by NeWest Press and won his second Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry. In 2012 Hill published Hillsdale, a Map (with designer Jared Carlson) and a chapbook, Street Pieces, with Alfred Gustav Press. Work from both of those projects appeared in Hillsdale Book, a poetry collection published by NeWest Press in 2015. Also in 2015, Hill published Still A Round: A History of Regina’s Globe Theatre.

In 2015, Gerald Hill retired from his Instructor position teaching English and Creative Writing at Luther College, University of Regina. In 2016 he served as Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan.

Written by Gerald (Gerry) Hill, 2015
Updated by Gerald Hill, 2017
Photo Credit Shelley Banks

Archival Collections (Finding Aids in PDF format)

2009-10 - Professional Papers. 1976-2008

2013-21 - Professional Papers, 1982-2013

2015-33 - Professional Papers, 1950-2015

2017-21 - Professional Papers, 1911-2017

2019-15 - Professional Papers, 1983-2018