Budge Wilson was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and educated at Dalhousie University (B.A., Philosophy & Psychology; Diploma in Education; Phys. Ed. Certificate). Wilson has had an eclectic career: she taught English and art at the Halifax Ladies’ College (now Armbrae Academy), worked as a photographer and commercial artist, and was a fitness instructor for over 21 years (Dalhousie University, 2006). Wilson began writing full time in 1978, and published her first book The Best Worst Christmas Present Ever in 1984. Since then, Wilson has published 34 books, many articles, and her work has appeared in over 90 anthologies. Wilson has won over 15 awards during her literary career, including the Municipality of Halifax Mayor’s Award for Cultural Achievement in Literature in 2003. In 2004, Wilson was made a Member of the Order of Canada; and in 2010, she received an Honourary Degree (LLD) from Dalhousie University.
Budge Wilson's series of stand-alone novels featuring the recurring character of Lorinda (Thirteen Never Changes, 1989; Lorinda's Diary, 1991) sits in a middle age-range between Wilson's picture and chapter books and her older adolescent young adult collections like The Leaving: Stories (1990), and Fractures: Family Stories (2002). Wilson demonstrates an evolving sensibility for the complexity of issues that follow children into young adulthood; as Lorinda matures with each novel, for example, so too do the themes and issues Wilson writes about. Although these middle range young adult adolescent novels end in tidy resolution, the narrators in Wilson's older adolescent young adult books often reflect back on their youth from a place of acceptance over issues that remain unresolved. Wilson's strength as a writer lies in both her thematic consistency (i.e., addressing perennial issues of inner conflict and identity) and her adaptability to her audience (i.e., presenting her thematic consistency to both children and young adults). These strengths are best executed in her recent prequel to L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (1908). Before Green Gables (2008) follows Anne from birth to her fateful train ride to Avonlea. Wilson's ability to create young characters that persevere through personal adversity is successfully tested in this 2008 prequel. Most of her YA novels and short story collections are "crossover" books, read by both teens and adults.
The following interview was conducted on January 28, 2011. For a transcript of the interview go here.