About Constance Rooke

photo of Constance Rooke

Connie Rooke (1942–2008) was born Constance Merriam Raymond in New York City. She pursued undergraduate studies at Smith College, where she won the same writing scholarship earlier held by Sylvia Plath (a matter of some pride). After a year roaming around Europe, she settled in New Orleans, concentrating on graduate studies at Tulane. In 1967, she began working on her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she took over the editorship of the venerable Carolina Quarterly, and met and married Leon Rooke, the writer in residence at the time. In 1969, she joined the University of Victoria’s Department of English. Her decade-long stewardship of The Malahat Review made it the go-to publication among Canadian literary magazines. The initial three Journey Prizes, among many other awards, came The Malahat Review’s way during her tenure as editor, along with a substantial increase in subscriptions. In 1989, she became chair at the Department of English at the University of Guelph, later becoming that institution’s Vice-President, Academic. She went on to become president of the University of Winnipeg, president of PEN Canada, and created the MFA Writing Program at the University of Guelph. Her essay collection, Fear of the Open Heart, is generally revered, as are the numerous other volumes she edited and compiled. She published many short stories and her critical work has been widely anthologized. She changed—and enriched—a great many lives.

Return to Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize guidelines.