P.W. Bridgman (the pen name used by Thomas S. Woods since the mid-1980s) is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer of poetry, fiction and book reviews who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has earned undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology (in 1974 and 1983, respectively) and a degree in law (in 1987).
Immediately before his retirement in September 2019, and under his true name, Bridgman (Woods) served professionally for 12 years within the justice system. For the 20 years that preceded that, he practised law as a barrister at a large Vancouver law firm and, for 17 of those years, he concurrently edited a legal journal with 11,000+ individual and institutional subscribers.
Prior to returning to university to study law (from 1984-1987), Bridgman (Woods) worked for ten years in the child behaviour therapy field serving children and youth with autism, first as a clinician and researcher and ultimately as a treatment program director.
Throughout his careers in law and psychology, Bridgman (Woods) made many conference presentations and contributed numerous articles and book chapters to the academic literature associated with those fields. (Examples of such writings can be seen by clicking here and here and here and here). Post-retirement, he continues to write scholarly articles on legal subjects and, as well, he continues as editor-in-chief of an international journal for judges and magistrates — a post to which he was appointed in 2018.
Bridgman began writing and publishing fiction and poetry under his pen name while an articled student-at-law. He has continued to do so up to the present, using time that was not otherwise claimed by family and professional responsibilities. His fiction and poetry have appeared, or are forthcoming, in (among others) The Moth Magazine, The Honest Ulsterman, The Glasgow Review of Books, Poetry Salzburg Review, RIC Journal, The Galway Review, The Bangor Literary Journal, Litro UK, Litro NY, The High Window, Reflex Fiction, Pif Magazine, Praxis Magazine, Grain Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Ars Medica, Ascent Aspirations, Patchwork Paper, The New Orphic Review, London Grip, A New Ulster, Easy Street, Section 8 Magazine, Pottersfield Portfolio, The Mulberry Fork Review and Aerodrome. Bridgman’s writing has won prizes and has been short- and long-listed in several literary competitions, both in Canada and overseas, and some of his short stories and flash fiction pieces are represented in anthologies published in Ireland, England, Scotland and Canada.
Under his true name, beginning in the mid-1980s and continuing until 2007, Bridgman (Woods) wrote more than 50 reviews of mostly literary titles for newspapers such as The Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun. (An example of such a review can be seen by clicking here.) Now that he has retired from his role in the justice system, he has returned to book reviewing and currently (under his Bridgman pen name) he serves regularly as a book critic in the UK for the Glasgow Review of Books and London Grip. As well, he has recently begun contributing reviews to the Vancouver-based literary journal, the Ormsby Review.
In 2018 Bridgman was one of nine participants selected to participate in the intensive writing summer school program offered by the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast — an experience that he says was a defining one in his writing life. (To see a roughly contemporaneous interview of Bridgman published in the Derry-based The Honest Ulsterman, click on this link.)
Bridgman has done many public readings of his creative work at literary venues in British Columbia and abroad (including at the United Arts Club in Dublin, the Tchai Ovna Teahouse in Glasgow, the Open Studio in Melbourne and, most recently, the Accidental Theatre in Belfast).
Bridgman’s first book of short fiction, entitled Standing at an Angle to My Age, was published in 2013 by the independent Canadian literary publisher, Libros Libertad Publishing Ltd. In September 2018 his first book of poems, entitled A Lamb, was published by the independent Canadian literary publisher, Ekstasis Editions.
A second collection of Bridgman’s short fiction is nearing completion. A second book of his poems is also in preparation.