Geoffrey Ursell

Geoffrey Ursell

URSELL, Geoffrey (b. 1943-2021)

Geoffrey Ursell is an award-winning writer of drama for stage, radio, and television, as well as of fiction, poetry, and songs.

Ursell was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and grew up in Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. He received his B.A. (Hons) and M.A. from the University of Manitoba, and his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of London (England), where he studied with the acclaimed scholar Sir Frank Kermode. He once taught Canadian Literature and Creative Writing at the Universities of Manitoba and Regina, but he has been a full-time writer, composer, producer, publisher, and editor for over twenty-five years.

Geoffrey has written extensively for radio, including a five episode mystery-comedy series for CBC’s Morningside, as well as other mystery-comedy series for CBC Saskatchewan, and plays for Vanishing Point and Anthology. He has composed songs for stage and radio, and his songs were featured on a CBC television special, as well as being heard on Sunday Morning and As It Happens. He wrote the music and lyrics for the widely-produced Globe Theatre show, Superwheel (script by Rex Deverell), as well as for such plays as Black Powder: Estevan, 1931 (script by Rex Deverell), and Talking Back (script by Don Kerr). Ursell has also written or co-written several plays with songs for young audiences, including What Do You Wanna Bet?, The Willow Bunch Giant, and The Prairie Jungle Show.

Trap Lines, his first poetry collection, received a Commonwealth Poetry Prize Special Commendation. His second collection of poetry is The Look-Out Tower, and he also has a collection of short stories, Way Out West! His songs, poems, and stories have appeared in many Canadian periodicals and anthologies.

Ursell’s novel, Perdue, won the Books in Canada Best First Novel Award, and his stage plays have won three national playwriting awards. His first full-length play, The Running of the Deer, produced by the University of Alberta Drama Department and published by Playwrights Canada, won the Clifford E. Lee National Playwriting Award. Saskatoon Pie!, a musical comedy, published by Coteau Books, won Persephone Theatre’s National Playwriting Competition, and was later remounted twice and toured Saskatchewan with great success. It has since had many other productions.

Ursell has been Editor-in-Chief of Grain Magazine and is a founding member and publisher of Coteau Books.

Written with information
from by Geoffrey Ursell
Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Ursell

Archival Collections (Finding Aids in PDF format)

89-1 - Personal and Professional Papers. 1969-1987