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Jacob Zilber taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia from 1957 to 1989. He served as chairman of the University of British Columbia's Creative Writing Committee before establishing the UBC's Department of Creative Writing in 1965. Zilber was also one of the founders of UBC's Prism magazine and served as its editor from 1966 to 1973. Jacob Zilber was born on May 15, 1924, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin in 1948, earning Honors in General Scholarship. He went on to study a Masters of Arts from the University of Washington in 1957.
Zilber joined UBC's Department of English in 1957 as a Lecturer until 1962, when he became an Assistant Professor. In 1965 he held the position of Associate Professor and became a full Professor by 1975. Zilber held memberships in various professional and learned societies such as CAUT and the UBC Faculty Association. He was also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the first director of the B.C. Writers Service and served as a judge for the ACTRA awards. As a prolific writer, Zilber's literary work has appeared in various Canadian and American magazines, while his plays have been presented in Vancouver and off-Broadway in New York. In addition, a co-written screenplay, The Inbreaker (1974), became a feature film produced by the Bob Elliott Film Company of Vancouver. Zilber retired from teaching in 1989.