Fonds MG L 2 - Alden Nowlan

Title proper

Alden Nowlan

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  • Textual record

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  • 1958-1962 (Creation)
    Nowlan, Alden

Physical description

5.1 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Poet Alden Nowlan was born at Windsor, Nova Scotia, on 25 January 1933. Largely self-educated, Nowlan was named writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, in 1968 and held that post until his death in 1983. The university awarded him an honourary Doctor of Letters degree in 1971.

Nowlan's poems, largely about ordinary people, received popular acclaim in his day. In 1967 his Bread, Wine and Salt won the Governor General's Award. Other works include Playing the Jesus Game (1970) and Between Tears and Laughter (1971). Nowlan also wrote plays, short stories, a novel and a column for the Saint John Telegraph Journal.

While at UNB Nowlan, with St. Thomas University professor Leo Ferrari and writer Raymond Fraser, organized The Flat Earth Society of Canada. Attempting to promote critical thinking, the society disputed one thing that "scientific Western civilization" considers indisputable -- namely, that the earth is round. Nowlan wrote several tractates for the society which set out its views. He also worked with the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission, writing the book, Campobello: The Outer Island. Alden Nowlan died at Fredericton on 27 June 1983.

Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia, 1988; New Brunswick Authors, 1984

Alden Nowlan

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds documents the literary career of Alden Nowlan. It includes rough drafts of poems and two short stories as well as galley proofs of short stories and typescripts of poems written at Hartland and Saint John, NB, between 1958 and 1962.

The fonds also includes copies of tributes to Nowlan, copies of published volumes, copies of articles by Nowlan, and reviews of his works.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased from Alden Nowlan on 20 June 1966.


Language of material

  • English

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Restrictions on access

All publication rights are retained by Claudine Nowlan.

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An item level inventory is available.

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Associated materials

The University of Calgary Libraries, Special Collections Division, hold ca. 14.5 m (19,500 items) of Alden Nowlan material. See: "The Alden Nowlan Papers: an Inventory of the Archive at the University of Calgary Libraries."

Raymond Fraser fonds MG L28; Cogswell/Fiddlehead fonds UA RG83; Nicholas Catanoy fonds MG L31a; Jon Pederson fonds MG L30; Ralph Costello fonds MG H193

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