Jamie was born and raised in Waterloo, Ontario, where he had a pretty classically Canadian boyhood. A big, tight-knit family, lots of sports, especially hockey, game nights with friends, canoe-tripping with his father in the summer. Hard to say where the writing came from. From very early on he had a passion for things artistic as well as athletic. He still have poems written at ten ("I the Lion, King of Beasts"!). He also acted in various plays, beginning with school plays at Northdale Public School, and then a series of plays with the Waterloo Little Theatre from the age of 11 — an extension of playing the class clown in school, something that got a pretty equal share of laughs from friends and trouble from teachers.
Jamie started writing songs around the same time as poetry,around the age of 14. Even then, he was always least "serious" musician in the group — gravitating instead towards being a lyricist.
Oddly enough, his best subject all the way through the end of high school was math, even though he knew for dead certain he wanted to be a writer. He claims this is either evidence of a certain perversity in character (why pursue a career based on something you have a natural talent for when you can take on something that is really hard???) or proof of that enduring passion mentioned above.
During early adulthood Jamie alternated between writing "creatively" (fiction, poetry, music) and writing academic essays. Along the way, he acquired a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University, an M.A. in English from University of Victoria, and a PhD in English from York University. He was thrilled at being hired as an Assistant Professor by the English Department at the University of Victoria in 1990, still a year away from finishing his PhD.
Since then jamie has been incredibly grateful to be a teacher as well as a writer. One of the best things about being a teacher is that one is also a perpetual student — both about writing and about literature more generally — because of working with so many wonderful young people. A number of his students have gone to be successful teachers and writers themselves.
As a result of Jamie's academic work, quite a lot of his writing has appeared over the years in the form of essays and reviews in various periodicals. The "Non-Fiction / Criticism" section includes some links and excerpts from this writing.