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Vivian Healey

Vivian Healey has always had a keen interest in reading, languages, words and their origins, and the vernacular of various groups. Her interest in writing and writing-related endeavours began when she was young, when she would compose and send letters to newspaper editors—and often saw them published! The mastering of grammar and punctuation came easily to her, and she calls herself a “grammar geek.” Lynn Truss’s humorous book, Eats, Shoots & [sic] Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation is a favourite of hers. Because of her keen eye to spot grammatical errors and identify literary ambiguity, she was often enlisted to proofread university papers for her children. She has always been a documenter, and is writing her own personal memoir.

Her formal university education began in the 1970s at Memorial University, but life took her away from academia for forty years. She moved back and forth between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts many times, gave birth to one child in Victoria, British Columbia and a second one in St. John’s six years later. She was employed at a St. John’s law firm for close to twenty-five years.

Vivian feels that it is never too late to do things, and in 2016, she resumed her studies – this time at the University of Victoria, where in 2021 she received a BA in English. In 2022 she received a fellowship to enter the MA (English) program at UVic. Part of this program involved working as a teaching assistant, something she found quite rewarding. She was thorough in correcting her students’ papers – judging not only their content, but the grammar and punctuation too! The title of one of her own (favourite) MA essays is: The Tragic Impossibility of Overmasting the Sea and the Comedic Overmastering of Men: Analysis of Different Kinds of Deaths in [Irish playwright] J. M. Synge’s Riders to the Sea and The Playboy of the Western World.

Among Vivian’s favourite books are: Oxford Idioms; Why Do We Say It?: The Stories Behind the Words, Expressions and Cliches We Use; and Ron Young’s The Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador. She takes great enjoyment in reading biographies and autobiographies.

Vivian is fascinated by ancestry and family trees. She is in the process of writing the biography of a boy from Blackhead, Cape Spear. This boy knows that he needs to leave that village to make a living, and in the early 1940s, he bravely sets out alone on an adventure. This boy was her father, Roger J. Healey.

Vivian was born and raised in Newfoundland, living first in the small village of Blackhead where she attended the one-room school there. She says that she grew up in Victoria, British Columbia though, where she spent close to twenty years, during two vastly differing eras of her life. She returned to NL in 2023, largely due to the birth of her first grandchild in 2022.

Vivian can be reached at