W. O. Mitchell was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, in 1914. Suffering from bovine tuberculosis, he was forced to withdraw from school for a year, and his family moved to a healthier climate in 1927, first to California and then to Florida.
After receiving his B.A. (1942) from the University of Alberta, Mitchell taught for two years. Already publishing short stories, he became a freelance writer in 1944, and, three years later, published his first novel, Who Has Seen the Wind. Destined to become a classic of Canadian literature, the book recreates the perceptual world of a young boy on the prairies struggling with the meaning of life.
From 1948 to 1951 he was fiction editor of Maclean’s in Toronto. Thereafter he made his home in Alberta, often interrupting his fiction career with teaching assignments, in particular at the Banff School of Fine Arts, where he was director of creative writing from 1975 to 1986, and at the University of Windsor.
W. O. Mitchell died in Calgary, Alberta, in 1998.
Books in the NCL: