(*for books for children and teens, see


  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Porcupine’s Quill (Oct. 15 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0889842019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0889842014


`The short stories in Alison Acheson’s Learning to Live Indoors deal with family relationships. Acheson, who lives in British Columbia, has previously published two young adult novels, one of which was shortlisted for several awards. But although this collection is full of domestic detail, there is nothing cozy about the stories.’

(Quill & Quire)

`Glossing sagely on the resilient question of what literature is for, Norman Mailer wrote in a recent book review that its true purpose is “comprehending a little more about men or women”. In other words, the fewer pyrotechnics, recipes, space aliens or plutonium heists the better. Fiction can be an entertaining or comforting diversion from the traumas and banalities of life, or it can grace the usual (or the unfamiliar) with revelatory light. At best it offers not rote sensation, but an arresting and crystalline clarity. … Alison Acheson has a gift of clarity. Of the twelve stories in Learning to Live Indoors, four achieve the crystalline in varying degrees. The rest, though less compelling, offer intriguing characters, some delicious twists and prose that remains lucid and assured.’

(Globe & Mail)

`At her best, Acheson is able to capture in prose all those little emotional struggles — the small, significant ones that really do go on in our minds — that encapsulate ordinary living.’

(The Manitoban)

Back cover blurb

`The first thing you notice in Acheson’s stories are the words; the precision, the clarity. It’s as if she were lovingly-ardently reconstructing thought and image out of a dear, old, familiar language long fallen into disuse. She blows off the dust; discovers the shape of sound.’ ~~~ Tim Wynne Jones

Sex, once the great unspoken, is now regularly commodified and prepackaged for wide consumer consumption, on TV, in films, on billboards. In this context in which nothing is shocking–no boundary too sacred to cross–what does sex mean, particularly to those born under these conditions? Carnal Nation collects stories about sex by an exciting new generation of writers who boldly push the narrative envelope. These are not your typical bump-and-grind tales, but stories written in a startling new language, bringing fresh meaning to the term “polymorphously perverse”: from a high-school deflowering on the hood of a car by a dildo-wielding girl who calls herself a guy, to a talented male stripper who demonstrates his ability to open a Coke bottle with no hands, to suburban porn watching as a precursor to racial harmony.

The thirty-two contributors include some of the most provocative and interesting young writers working today. Carnal Nation is cunning, shocking, and brazenly cocky.

Contributors include: Alison Acheson, Sonja Ahlers, Diana Atkinson, Michelle Berry, Carellin Brooks, Clint Burnham, Natalee Caple, Martine Delveaux, Tamas Dobozy, Tess Fragoulis, Camilla Gibb, Sky Gilbert, Robert Gray, Steven Heighton, Michael Holmes, Larissa Lai, Elise Levine, Annabel Lyon, Judy MacDonald, Mark Macdonald, Suzette Mayr, Derek McCormack, Hal Niedzviecki, Andy Quan, Rachel Rose, Michael V. Smith, Erin Soros, Nathalie Stephens, Anne Stone, Michael Turner, R.M. Vaughan, and Marnie Woodrow.

( 2005-11-10) (from

Naked in Academe: Celebrating Fifty Years of Creative Writing at UBC by [Tregebov, Rhea]

In 1946, the poet Earle Birney, then an English professor at the University of British Columbia, broke new ground by establishing a single course within the English department, one for the writer “naked in academe.” He went on to found the UBC Creative Writing Department in 1963 – Canada’s first university writing program, a learner-centered, interdisciplinary experience that has produced many of Canada’s finest writers and poets.
Celebrating fifty years of creative writing at UBC, Naked in Academe showcases an impressive diversity of literary voices that have grown out of the program. From short stories to poetry, narrative essays to scripts for theatre and film, herein is a dynamic collection of writing from across Canada that, like the program itself, is at once contemporary and vibrant, relevant and incisive.