Our staff profile continues with one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s foremost authors and storytellers.
Michael Crummey was born in Buchans, Newfoundland and Labrador and grew up between there and Wabush, where he moved with his family in the late 1970s. He studied at Memorial University in St. John’s, where he received a BA in English in 1987. It was there that he began to write poetry, a love that he continued to nurture while completing his MA at Queens University. Michael dropped out of his Ph.D program to pursue a career in writing, and returned to St. John’s in 2001.
Michael has written five collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, and four novels, all of which are mainstays of east coast literature. He is also the author of a non-fiction volume, Newfoundland: Journey Into a Lost Nation and his works have been published in many major anthologies of literature. His writing has garnered numerous awards and accolades, including a win in the Memorial University’s Gregory J. Power Poetry Contest, the first Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award, the Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Poetry, the Thomas Head Raddall Award, and the Independent Booksellers’ Choice Award. He has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and the Books in Canada First Novel Award. He also researched and wrote the 2014 National Film Board short film 54 Hours on the 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster. His most recent novel, Sweetland, has been released to great acclaim.
Crummey’s writing draws on the history and landscape of his home province. While some poems and prose—Hard Light, for example—are inspired by stories of his father and other relatives, other works draw on coastal mining communities and historical sources for their narrative force. His novels, in particular, tend to chart contact and conflict, from the European settlers of the eighteenth century to Newfoundland’s involvement in World War II. His unique flair for capturing the rhythms of life on Canada’s east coast make him an invaluable member of the Adventure Canada team—the destinations to which we travel are the very same that have inspired his outstanding body of work.
Michael is also an accomplished outdoorsman, and when not giving talks on board the ship, he can be found waist-deep in frigid water, giving guests a helping hand as they head ashore.