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Priscila Singh UPPAL

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Priscila Singh UPPAL Obituary
PRISCILA SINGH UPPAL Who died in Toronto on September 5, 2018 at the age of 43, wore many hats-literally. An assortment of beautiful headgear for all occasions filled half her room-sized closet; her fabulous vintage dresses the other half. The rest of her home was taken up by art and by books, many her own. Priscila was the author of 10 books of poetry, including the Griffin Poetry Prize-nominated Ontological Necessities, two novels, a short story collection, a memoir, two plays, as well as the editor of several anthologies. Her memoir, Projection: Encounters with my Runaway Mother, was nominated for a Governor General's Award and the Hillary Weston Prize for Non-Fiction. Her selected poems, Successful Tragedies: Poems 1998-2010, was published in the U.K. in 2010, and Time Out Londonhas called her "Canada's coolest poet." At the time of her death another book of poetry, On Second Thought, two more plays, and Another Dysfunctional Cancer Anthology, edited by her and Meaghan Strimas, were in production, and a book of her last stories will follow. No wonder Priscila's favourite footwear was running shoes (often worn with one of her glamorous dresses). Canada's official Olympic poet and stellar 5-K runner was a super-athlete in theliteraryworld as well. She turned her cancer into art, including poems and her play What Linda Said, with her characteristic honesty and darkly comic vision, and took up karaoke to heal her lungs with music. Priscila was one of the youngest tenured professors in Canada at York University, where she taught English and Creative Writing. She was the kindest, most dedicated mentor a young writer-or any writer-could have, and the literary legacy she leaves behind is not just her own, but all the work she has inspired and pushed others to create. Priscila loved her family, given and chosen, with all her heart, and we loved her back. She leaves her father, Avtar; brother, Jit and sister-in-law, Jen; nephews, Emmitt and Hunter; chosen mother, Toni; long-time partner, Chris; her beloved cat, Ovid, whose brother, Vergil, died the same day as Priscila; and the many, many others who were her family. We miss her terribly. Life was Priscila's greatest love, and she taught the rest of us how to embrace it. In one of her last poems, she wrote: Because my heart has not had its fill./Because I won't waste a single, glorious, precious day. Promise. (Donations may be made in Priscila's name to a scholarship fund at York University, through this link: http://en.laps.yorku.ca/uppal.)
Published in The Globe and Mail from Sept. 15 to Sept. 19, 2018
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