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June 1, 1940 - May 17, 2002
Melinda McCracken was born on June 1st, 1940 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to William Frederick and Edith (nee Cochran). She has one brother, John. McCracken attended Riverview School from 1946-1955 and Churchill High School from which she graduated in 1957. McCracken then entered the University of Manitoba on a music scholarship and she received her B.A. in Honors English in 1961.
From 1961 to 1962, she worked on the women's pages of the Winnipeg Free Press. In 1962, McCracken went to Paris to study drawing and painting at the Bynam Shaw School. The following year, she took a silversmithing course at the Hornsey College of Art in London. During the two years that McCracken was in Paris and London she wrote a bi-weekly column for the Winnipeg Free Press. McCracken returned to Canada in 1964 and settled in Montreal. After trying her hand at making jewelry for a living, she relied on her writing skills to support herself. She began working at Weekend Magazine, a national supplement magazine, where she wrote captions and headlines, edited copy, and wrote an occasional feature story.
From 1967 to 1967, McCracken was a freelance writer. She wrote a weekly column for the Toronto Daily Star called "The Montreal Scene," wrote continuity for a CBC-TV public affairs program called The New Generation. She also wrote articles for The Montrealer, The Winnipeg Free Press, and The Star Weekly. In 1968, McCracken moved to Toronto and began working on the entertainment pages of The Globe and Mail. She was transferred to the copy desk of The Globe Magazine in 1969 where she wrote captions, headlines and edited stories. In 1971, McCracken was transferred back to the features department of The Globe and Mail, where she edited columns on the second front, the Parliament page, the Saturday international page, and did some work on the television page. In 1972, McCracken freelanced for Maclean's Magazine. She also wrote short stories for Chatelaine and Miss Chatelaine. As well, she wrote book reviews for The Globe and Mail book pages. One interview that garnered McCracken quite a bit of attention was her profile of Adrienne Clarkson in the September 1972 issue of Maclean's.
In 1973, McCracken gave birth to her daughter, Molly. McCracken was given an Ontario Arts Council grant to write a story about growing up in Winnipeg. The completed manuscript, Memories Are Made of This, was published by James Lorimer & Co. in 1975. Also in 1975, McCracken contributed to an anthology of Canadian women. She wrote chapters featuring painter Edith Warkov and McCracken's mother, Edith. The anthology, Her Own Woman, was published by Macmillan. McCracken also contributed a chapter on architect Etienne Gaboury in the anthology, Winnipeg 8: The Icecold Hothouse, published by Queenston House in 1983. McCracken spent the years from 1973 to 1984 as a freelance writer. She moved to Winnipeg in 1976. From 1981 to 1985, McCracken worked as a salesclerk at Classics Books in Winnipeg. In 1984, McCracken returned to school, and completed the Red River Community College Library Technician course. After graduation, from 1985 to 1989, she worked as a Information Writer at Manitoba Energy and Mines. From 1989 to 1991, McCracken was employed as a Library Technician for the St. Boniface School Division.
From 1991-2002, McCracken was a freelance writer/researcher. She was the Writer-in-Residence in Carman in 1996. McCracken was also involved in many literary organizations including: The Writers' Union of Canada- The Status of Women Writers Committee; Re:Visions Women's Film and Video Festival; St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre; Payment for Public Use/Book Committee; Manitoba Arts Council; Manitoba Writers' Guild; Manitoba Film Board; Women and Words; and The Canada Council. McCracken's articles appeared in many Canadian magazines. She also worked as the Manitoba contributing editor to the NeWest Review. She passed away on May 17, 2002.
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Created by Karyn Riedel Taylor and Lisa Friesen (2000). Revised by N. Courrier (April 2019).