Nancy Mattson lives in London, where she moved in 1990 from the Canadian prairies. She was born in 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but when the Red River flooded in 1950 her family moved to higher ground in Edmonton, Alberta. She spent all her childhood summers on her Finnish grandparents’ homesteads in Saskatchewan.
Nancy began writing poetry in 1977 after completing her MA in English Literature at the University of Alberta. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Ireland and Finland in magazines, anthologies, the odd scholarly journal and an encyclopaedia. In 1982 she edited and co-authored a history book which provided the inspiration for her first collection, Maria Breaks Her Silence (Regina: Coteau, 1989), based on the life of a 19th century Finnish woman who emigrated to Canada. This was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poetry in Canada. Adapted for the stage as Lye Soap and Dancing Cows, it was also broadcast on CBC Radio.
Her second full collection is Writing with Mercury (Flambard, 2006), with cover art by Elaine Kowalsky. Nancy is also one of five poets featured in the anthology Take Five 06, edited by John Lucas (Shoestring, 2006). The poems in these two volumes are set in contemporary England, Canada, Finland and Italy and use memory, myth, history and family stories to create a rich linguistic and cultural texture.
Nancy has worked as an editor, university lecturer, government research officer, conference organizer and in the marketing department of a City investment firm. She is married to poet and mathematician Michael Bartholomew-Biggs; they organise the Poetry in the Crypt reading series at St Mary Islington in north London. Nancy’s adult son and daughter and their families, including her two grandchildren, live in Alberta.