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University of Manitoba & Special Collections

Sproxton, Birk

  • sproxton_b
  • Personne
  • 1943-2007

Birk Sproxton was born in 1943 in Flin Flon, Manitoba. He was educated at United College (now the University of Winnipeg), and then continued at the University of Manitoba where he earned his B.A., M.A., and a Ph.D in Modern Literature. He taught at a number of institutions, including high school in Boissevain, Manitoba, the University of Regina, the University of Winnipeg, and the University of Manitoba. Most notable in his career was his 31 years teaching creative writing at Red Deer College in Alberta.

Sproxton was a prolific and award-winning writer and editor. His book Phantom Lake: North of 54 (University of Alberta Press, 2005) earned the Margaret McWilliams Local History Award for excellence in the study and interpretation of Manitoba history and also the $25,000 Grant MacEwan Alberta Author Award. His novel titled Red Headed Woman with the Black, Black Heart (Turnstone Press, 1997) won an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Fiction from the Manitoba Historical Society.

He edited a number of literature volumes, including: Sounds Assembling: The Poetry of Bertram Brooker (Turnstone Press, 1980); Trace: Prairie Writers on Writing (Turnstone Press, 1986); and Great Stories from the Prairies (Red Deer Press, 2003); and The Winnipeg Connection: Writing Lives at Mid-Century (Prairie Fire Press, 2006).

Sproxton was directly involved in founding The Sphinx: A Magazine of Literature and Society at the University of Saskatchewan. He served as a member of the editorial staff of the journal from its inception in 1974 until the early 1980s.

Soon before his death, Sproxton returned to the University of Manitoba to give the 25th Annual Marjorie Ward Lecture March 8, 2007 at St. John's College. Birk Sproxton passed away in Red Deer on March 14, 2007.