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Sapergia, Barbara (1943–)

A prominent Saskatchewan writer of poetry, stories, plays, and programs for television and radio, Barbara Sapergia was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1943. She studied English literature at the University of Saskatchewan, where she received her BA in 1964, and at the University of Manitoba, where she earned her MA in 1966.

Sapergia, with Robert Currie, Gary Hyland, and husband Geoffrey Ursell, founded Coteau Books in 1975. She has remained heavily involved in its operation, acting as a member of the co-operative’s board of directors and as editor of over 20 titles for young readers.

Sapergia’s published works include the poetry collection Dirt Hills Mirage (1980), the novels Foreigners (1984) and Secrets in Water (1999), and a collection of short stories, South Hill Girls (1992). She is also known for her plays, which include the productions Lokkinen (1982), The Great Orlando (1985), Matty and Rose (1985), and Roundup (1990). In all, seven of her plays have been professionally produced, and two of them, Lokkinen and Roundup, have also been published. Most recently, Sapergia has focused her energies on writing for television. She is one of three partners in Moose Jaw Light and Power Artistic Productions Ltd; and along with Geoffrey Ursell, she has created and written for the nationally televised preschool series Prairie Berry Pie. Sapergia lives with her husband in Saskatoon.

Justin Messner

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Further Reading

Hillis, Doris. 1988. Plainspeaking: Interviews with Saskatchewan Writers. Regina: Coteau Books; 2004. Saskatchewan Writers: Lives Past and Present. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center; Van Luven, Lynne. 1992. “South Hill Girls Are Memorable; Saskatchewan Writers’ Stories Powerfully Recreate Small-town Life.” Edmonton Journal (May 17), D8.
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