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Headshot of Wade Bell as a young adult in the 1970s

Canadian Author

Wade Bell is the author of three well received books of fiction from Guernica Editions: Tracie's Revenge, No Place Fit for a Child, and A Destroyer of Compasses.

His work is found in over fifty literary magazines and anthologies in Canada, Japan, Denmark, Italy, the U.S. and Spain. 

Headshot of Wade Bell in 2020

Robert Hilles, Governor-General of Canada award winning poet and novelist

"In this stunning book, Wade Bell writes on the level of Raymond Carver and Roberto Bolaño. He knows exactly what to leave out to make a short story great. This is a book everyone who loves great fiction and short stories will want to read. He is the master of endings and like Alice Munro keeps us guessing until the final sentence. These are stories to dwell on and ravish in. Read just one and you will be hooked!"

New Releases



Visions of Bolaño
above/ground press

It is spring, wet, the countryside green. The train’s windows are opaque sheets of emerald rainwater. He senses me staring and glances over. He is gaunt, in his forties. His sculpted features are ragged, more Giacometti than Leonardo. Behind wire rim glasses are eyes of a fanatic, or addict…

​This four-story fiction chapbook is now out from above/ground press. The title story, Visions of Bolaño, was first published in The Typescript. Contact Wade to order your signed copy here.

A creative writer is a designer of destinies.

Wade Bell sitting on a bench in the backyard looking contemplative


Cover of Wade's book "Tracie's Revenge & Other Stories"
Cover of Wade's book "No Place Fit for a Child"
The cover of Wade's book "A Destroyer of Compasses"

Tracie's Revenge
& Other Stories 
Guernica Editions

A classic short fiction writer, Wade Bell lets his characters do the talking for him, electing to stay in the background. His style is simple but he's not afraid to pry open the heart of a character and expose it for all the world to see. Bell's latest collection features a young wife who deliberately sets up her husband to kill or be killed; a struggling artist who is picked up by a mysterious six-foot woman at a bar; a girlfriend called Jupiter Moon; and a drill instructor who gets his kicks ordering a seven-year-old to march. Contact Wade to order your signed copy here. Click here for reviews!

No Place Fit for a Child 
Guernica Editions

The accomplished stories found in this book take the reader from Cuba to the Yukon, from a parched landscape in Canada to the cool streets of southern Spain, from Toronto to the Rockies, and from the narrowing world of the dying to the wondrous expanse of a child’s imagination. Uncannily adept at transporting his audience, Wade Bell’s collection offers a satisfying depth of experience (Guernica Editions). Contact Wade to order your signed copy here.

A Destroyer of 
Guernica Editions

Sometimes lyrical, sometimes tough, these stories deal with the foibles and frailties of acutely drawn characters pursuing freedom, love, beauty and adventure amidst the stark realities of life, whether at the end of a dictatorship in Spain, on an exotic Mediterranean island or as a Spanish bride-to-be first encountering Canada. Frank, provocative and haunting, these pieces range from dark comedy to quirky, uncertain romance to edgy thriller. The writing is vivid, sensual and contemporary. Contact Wade to order your signed copy here.


"From the first paragraph...Wade Bell's authenticity and artistry carried me through the darkness and light towards a crescendo in two brilliant final stories. Bell has been compared to Carver and Munro. But his gift is unique, starting with his hard-earned authenticity, and his mastery of the craft, especially of the classic short story. Although some stories are as subversive as those of the Beat writers... Bell writes women vividly, often beautifully, from their fashions to their dark fantasies, from young girls to mature women, without romanticizing or demonizing. He writes sagely about desire and is funny and flirty too. Bell's a smooth operator; never crude, always classy. He is an artist and as fine a writer as we've seen in a long time" (Bruce Hunter, Freefall, Fall 2003).

Bruce Hunter
a review of


Tracie’s Revenge
by Wade Bell
Guernica, 2012

From the first paragraph of Wade Bell’s new short story collection, Tracie’s Revenge, I
knew I was reading a gifted writer. Bell’s authenticity and artistry carried me through
darkness and light towards a crescendo in two brilliant final stories.

The second last story, “The Trick”, follows a widowed oilpatch worker testing gas
wells through rattlesnake country. Bell sets his last story, “Papers and Pearls”, in 19th
century New Orleans from the point of view of a steamship captain’s young daughter
who receives from her father a gift of black pearls (think blood diamonds here). When I
finished, I knew Wade Bell was an extraordinary writer whose every book I must read.
He’s too good a writer to ignore.

I spoke with him briefly by telephone for this review. The only child of
American-born parents, Bell was raised in Edmonton. His father was an engineer in the
oilpatch and his mother “a crossword fanatic.” Bell did a brief stint in reform school. “I
became difficult to handle,” he says, with characteristic understatement. He spoke
frankly of a 26 year struggle with depression and his mother’s suicide. And when I asked
if I could include this, he emphasized, I must: “As a society, we need to talk about these
things.” This understatement, honesty and compassion come through in his stories.

Bell’s been compared to Carver and Munro. But his gift is unique, starting with
his hard-earned authenticity, and his mastery of the craft, especially of the classic short
story. Although, some stories are as subversive as those of the Beat writers: “Rational
Men at the End of the Reign of Reason (Graffiti on the Wall of Literature, #6)”.

73 year old Calgary-based Bell’s worked in the oil patch and for the CRTC. He’s
soft-spoken, shy and witty. He descends from a family that fought on both sides of the
American Civil War. Living in Ottawa, Bell met poets Dorn, Ginsberg, and Creeley. Not
surprisingly, Bell has a poet’s perfectly pitched ear for tone and nuance.

Bell’s first book was The North Saskatchewan River Book (Coach House, 1978).
It would be 25 years before his next collection, Destroyer of Compasses (Guernica,
2003), followed by No Place Fit For a Child (Guernica, 2009).

Others peer into the abyss, but Bell switches into four wheel drive, snaps on the
light bar and explores the coulee floors. While Bell illuminates dark places, he also brings

levity to well lighted ones, as fearlessly, humorously and wryly as Faulkner, or the
Spanish-speaking writers he admires: Cortazar, Hernandez, Jimenez, Lorca, Puig, and
Machado. Bell sets several stories in Spain and he switches locales masterfully
throughout Tracie’s Revenge and his other books.

What makes Bell a standout, is his ability to move a story from reality to dream or
nightmare, and back again, in a few sentences. He spoke of how the Spanish writers
“create explosions and write from inside grief.” Bell’s characters often create or escape
from small, sometimes large, sustained detonations.

For example, the title story depicts Tracie who blithely sets up her husband’s
death and then walks away. Bell writes:

“She thought of her husband at the sawmill and hoped an accident
there would take his life so she could inherit the insurance money
and the pick up truck.” (9)

And we are now compelled to follow Tracie and her young son right to the story’s
chilling final sentence.

Bell writes women vividly, often beautifully, from their fashions to their dark
fantasies, from young girls to mature women, without romanticizing or demonizing. I
asked him how he does this: “I’ve had three long-term relationships; I have two daughters
and four granddaughters whom I love – I’ve seen what they can do.”

Bell writes sagely about desire, and is funny and flirty too. “Soft, & Easy, Hello
or Goodbye” depicts two couples who meet separately in a bar, and how the dates don’t
work out. A man remaining from one couple has been casually sketching the woman
from the other couple and the two begin chatting. The woman looks at the man’s sketch:

‘“It’s me,” she said, “It’s good. You’re a real artist.”
“I am,” he said. “Starting tonight. Starting with you.“’
”Sure. I believe that, Mr. Artist.”’(43)

In a few deft sentences, the flirtation is on.

Bell’s a smooth operator; never crude, always classy. He is an artist and as fine a
writer as we’ve seen in a long time. And he’s currently working on a novel set in Spain.
Lucky for us.

Bruce Hunter bio:
Calgary-born, Bruce Hunter is a poet and fiction writer. His last appearance in Freefall
was in 1978. His Two O’clock Creek – Poems New and Selected (reviewed by Lisa
Pasold in Freefall Volume XXIII Number 1) won the 2011 Acorn-Plantos People’s
poetry award,. His novel, In the Bear’s House, about a young deaf boy who find love and
redemption on historic Kootenay Plains, won the 2009 Canadian Rockies Award at the
Banff Mountain Book Festival.

Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to see, dreaming of you.




Keroac and Wolfe

Aug 4, 2022
In: The Typescript

Dusty. Not the day, March 3, 1976, because there’s been a light rain. It’s my mind. I woke with images of empty North American streets taken over by unstoppable swirls of suffocating dust devils. It’s a recurring dream though sometimes the dust devils are tumbleweeds. Never nice.

Here in the village of Vulpellach, in Gerona province, Baix Ampurdan, Catalonia, Spain, it tries to be spring. But the heat could snap like a thread and humid cold slip down from the Pyrenees on a mean wind and land in my head as depression.

I realize I’m homesick. Not for a place, exactly. More for the life that unrolled for me there... Read more at The Typescript.

Father and Son

Jan/Feb 2021
In: Eclectica

Runner-up, non-fiction

Sometime in the '90s...

A lovely two-lane California blacktop parallels the Arizona border. I was driving my father home. Arizona, California, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Alberta.

Some days earlier, on the tenth of March, he'd called me. His breathing was labored, his voice high-pitched and edged with fear. Twice that day he visited a hospital emergency department in Phoenix. The first time they gave him a prescription. Experiencing no relief, he went back. The prescription was wrong.

He'd had periodic breathing problems for years. In Edmonton, he was his doctor's longest living open heart surgery patient, undergoing the operation 12 years ago.

He was having a panic attack. I calmed him the best I could and heard his breathing return to normal as I answered Yes to his question: Could I fly down and drive him home in his car?


Feb. 1, 2021
In: The Typescript

Margarita’s morning colours were amber, topaz and tangerine. Donning a broad-brimmed floppy hat, she went outside to sit in a shaded part of the villa’s garden. Leo approached her. Could he talk to her for a minute?

Margarita’s villa was on the Costa Brava, the Wild Mediterranean coast between Barcelona and the French border. It was a warm spring day in 1978.

Pointing to a chaise longue, she suggested he bring it closer to her. He did and placed it so that when he sat facing her, she was framed by rose vines that clung to the whitewashed garden wall and again by twin palm trees on the other side of it.

“Selfine mentioned that you were forced to abandon your singing career,” Leo began. “She said it was an interesting story.”

“She told me you’re a writer,” Margarita said. “Are you the kind that fiddles with facts until they turn into fiction?”

They exchanged small smiles. “I try not to,” he said.

Also in The Typescript

The silhouette of a soaring bird.

June 14, 2021

Image by Casey Horner

Aug 18, 2020

Image by Juha Lakaniemi

Oct 19, 2020

Image by Denise Johnson

Nov 18, 2021

Time drips by, hour by hour, and then it’s gone.

More Stories

At Sunset

Kennedy and My Friend

In: Lotus Eater

Fall/Winter, 2021

Image by Stefano Pollio

Why He Hasn't Been Around

In: WordCityLit

July, 2021

Cover of the book "Shy"

In: Shy, an Anthology

Eds. Naomi K.Lewis and Rona Altrows

Image by Dorian D1

In Sitges

In: Freshwater Pearls


Image by Raimond Klavins

To Die in Barcelona

In: Freshwater Pearls


Image by Andy Holmes

Immigration On, the second coming

In: Canadian Immigration Anthology


Image by Hanna Balan


May, 2005

Image by Andy Holmes

In: Fresh Tracks, Anthology


Street Art

Blue Morning 

Moody Street Irregulars

A Jack Kerouac Newsletter.

Fall, 1994

Image by National Cancer Institute

The Prairie Journal: a Magazine of Canadian Literature No 76


Cover of The North Saskatchewan River Book

In: Reading the River, Anthology by Myrna Kostash 2006

Image by Artem Kovalev

Sing for the Inner Ear, the Sandburg-Livesay Anthology Contest 


Image by Igor Kyryliuk

From Immigration On

The Road Home: New Stories from Alberta Writers by Fred Stenson
Reidmore, 1992



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