P.W. Bridgman (@PWB_writer1) is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer of poetry, fiction and literary criticism who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has, to date, published two books of poetry and two books of short fiction. A recently completed, chapbook-length novella in verse has been accepted for publication and will appear in 2023. Several works-in-progress are at various stages of completion, including a third collection of poems entitled If You See Dear Mrs. Equitone.
Bridgman earned undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology (in 1974 and 1983, respectively) and a degree in law (in 1987), all from the University of British Columbia at Vancouver. The real person who has sheltered behind the Bridgman pen name since the mid-1980s is Thomas S. Woods. (It’s a long story.)
Immediately before his retirement in September 2019, and under his true name, Bridgman (Woods) served for 12 years as a judge hearing criminal, family, child protection and civil cases. For the 20 years that preceded that, he practised as a barrister at a large Vancouver law firm and, for 17 of those years, he co-edited (1990-1996) and then edited (1996-2007) the Advocate, a legal journal with (then) 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. During that time he was also named to the editorial board of the U.S.-based psychological journal, Education and Treatment of Children.
Throughout his careers in law and psychology, Bridgman (Woods) made many conference presentations and contributed articles and book chapters to the academic literatures 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 edits the London-based Commonwealth Judicial Journal, an international journal for members of the Commonwealth judiciary. He joined the editorial board of the CJJ in 2012 and was appointed its editor-in-chief 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), One Hand Clapping Magazine, The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, The Maynard, The Moth Magazine, The Dillydoun Review, ZiN Daily, The Honest Ulsterman, The Glasgow Review of Books, Skylight 47, Poetry Salzburg Review, Postscript Magazine, Derry Now, RIC Journal, SAD Mag, The Literary Lawyer, Culture Matters, The Galway Review, The Bangor Literary Journal, Litro UK, Litro NY, Scrittura Literary Magazine, The High Window, Crossways Magazine, Reflex Fiction, Pif Magazine, Praxis Magazine, The Idler, The Miramichi Reader, 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 abroad. Some of his short stories and flash fiction pieces are represented in anthologies published in Ireland, England, Scotland, the USA 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 as a book critic in the UK for the Glasgow Review of Books (currently on hiatus), The High Window and London Grip. (An example of a recent review can be seen by clicking here.) As well, P.W. has recently begun contributing reviews to the Vancouver-based literary journal, the British Columbia Review (formerly known as 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 literary journal 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, the Accidental Theatre in Belfast and, most recently, the Parkside Lounge in New York).
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. More recently, in January 2021 Bridgman’s second book of short fiction, entitled The Four-Faced Liar, was released by Ekstasis. And a new selection of Bridgman’s poetry, entitled Idiolect, was released under the Ekstasis imprint in August 2021. His chapbook entitled Deliverance, 1961: A Novella in Thirty-Two Cantos will be published by Pooka Press in 2023.