Profile of me, University of Waterloo Alumnus

Here’s the direct link.

UWaterloo is 50 this year, so they’re profiling past students, an interesting a motley crew!

Below is a copy of the profile.


The extraordinary thing about English professors at the University of Waterloo, says Michael Bryson (BA 1992), is their ability to balance teaching the practical with the theoretical. A graduate of the Rhetoric and Professional Writing Co-op program, Michael cites the integration of Waterloo’s academic program with the practical experience of work-terms as the prime memory and benefit of his time on campus. 

This balance continues to be central element of Michael’s life, as he pursues creative writing projects and a professional career. 

Michael’s most recent publication, THE LIZARD AND OTHER STORIES (Chaudiere Books, 2009), includes 16 Michael Brysonstories about modern life in Toronto. A recent review called it “an easy book to like” and commented on the “tolerance for ambiguity” in many of the stories.

In addition to writing stories and blogging at, he also has a day job in the Ontario Public Service, where he has worked for the past decade in both communications and public functions. 

Employment within the public service isn’t new to Michael; as a co-op student, he worked for the federal government, among other posts. The work during this co-op term wasn’t nearly as memorable as “being young in Ottawa,” however. 

Of his courses on campus, Michael enjoyed Ken Ledbetter’s “Modern American Literature” class most, finding Dr. Ledbetter’s flair for teaching astonishing. “He spoke in twenty-minute paragraphs,” Michael says, recalling how the professor often spoke of how “literature gets behind the surface of reality.” 

Michael spent much of his time outside the classroom with a number of other students who “huddled around the Writer in Residence, Greg Cook”; they all wished to be better writers and thus sought his guidance. He remembers this group fondly, remarking that they were all “a bit on the outside of the mainstream,” and he remains in contact with a number of them. Michael also built upon his writing abilities by contributing to IMPRINT, in which he had a column called “Media Surfing” published weekly during the 1991-92 year. 

After graduating from UW with a BA, Michael went to Saskatoon for two years. After this stint in Saskatchewan, Michael came back to Ontario and earned an MA in English from the U of T, after which he completed the New Media Design Program at the Toronto-based Canadian Film Centre. 

Michael lives in Toronto with his wife and step-children.

First Review of The Lizard

Rebecca Rosenblum has provided the first review of The Lizard and Other Stories.

Calling the collection “an easy book to like,” she also said:

I think the best stories in this collection are the ones that remind me of expertly focussed spotlights. From a man whose relationship is probably disintegrating while his father’s love life takes off (“May the Road Rise”–great title) to a guy who sees his childhood friend resorting to violence (maybe) (“Hit”), there aren’t a lot of resolutions here, or many answers.

If you are familiar with the term tolerance for ambiguity, you probably learned it in a psychology or education class, but a reader of my acquaintance uses it to describe a reading style. Readers with a high tolerance for ambiguity don’t mind not having much backstory in a piece of fiction, provided we have some sense that there is a logical one. In a good story, we’re fine with not knowing why things happened, nor what the outcome is–if the author can shape the piece so that it works without those things.

“Six Million Million Miles” was, to me, the perfect story for the ambiguously tolerant (like me), because Bryson counters the randomness of writing any story about a few moments in anyone’s life with how random anyone’s life actually is.

All very nice.

Draft Reading Series, April 18

New reading from The Lizard and Other Stories.

Draft Reading Series, April 18 @ 3 p.m.

New location – The Merchants of Green Coffee at 2 Matida Street.
There’s a map at this link.

WHO:    Michael Bryson
            Ian Burgham
            Ellen S. Jaffe
            Dani Couture
            Mark Sampson
HOW MUCH: $5 includes a copy of the Draft publication

Rejection ain’t what it used to be. For one thing, there’s a lot more of it going around. And editors often refer to “the present climate” as their reason for saying no.
For our April 18th reading, Draft celebrates rejection, as we take a sounding of our notorious “climate” in work, art and — oh yes! — love.

Reading sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets.