Women’s Writing in Canada
Published: August 2019© 2019
360 Pages, 6.20 x 9.10 x 1.10 in
Spanning the period from the Massey Commission to the present and reflecting on the media of print, film, and song, this study attends to the burgeoning energy of women writers across genres. It explores how their work interprets our national story. The questioning, disruptive feminist practice of their fiction, filmmaking, poetry, song-writing, drama, and non-fiction reveals the tensions of colonial society at the same time as it transforms cultural life in Canada.
Women’s Writing in Canada resurrects foremothers who were active before and after the mid-century – Ethel Wilson, Gabrielle Roy, Gwen Pharis Ringwood, Dorothy Livesay, and P.K. Page – as well as such forgotten writers as Grace Irwin, Patricia Blondal, and Edna Jaques. Its breadth extends to the contemporary voices and influences of novelists Tracey Lindberg and Heather O’Neill, poets Marilyn Dumont and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, playwrights Hannah Moscovitch and Anna Chatterton, and filmmakers Sarah Polley and Mina Shum. Writing for children as well as memoirs, autobiographies, comic books, and cookbooks illustrate the wide and impressive range of women’s talents.
Introduction: Imag(in)ing the National Terrain from the Mid-twentieth Century to the Sesquicentennial
Approaching National Literature
Women in the Linked Roles of Reading and Writing
The Commissions: From Massey to Truth and Reconciliation
From Total Refusal and the Quiet Revolution to Cultural Accommodation
New Images of Movement and Diversity
Prospects at Mid-Century
Wrestling with the Strictures of Marriage and Family
Revolutionary Talents and Experiments
Flowering Careers in the Sixties
Trajectories of Celebrity: Munro and Atwood
The Tangle of Domesticity and Independence
Rhizomes of Sexuality, Nation, Race, and Ethnicity
Extensions in 2017
Adaptations of Women’s Writing in Canada
Jaques, Livesay, Waddington, and Page: "fired in the kiln of endurance"
P.K. Page: Onlooker and Participant
Wilkinson, Brewster, Avison, and Macpherson: "clearing the hurdles of sleep"
MacEwen and Atwood: "the slow striptease of our concepts"
Webb, Lowther, Marlatt, and Brossard: "the way any of us are tangled in the past"
Tostevin, Brand, Halfe, and Dumont: "their fragile, fragile symmetries of gain and loss"
Crozier, Moure, Zwicky, Carson, Michaels, Bolster, and Shraya: "the truth likes to hide out in the open"
Karen Solie: "poetic hipster"
Folk Singers Reclaiming Traditions
Punk, Pop, and Country
Adult Contemporary Styling
Ringwood: Canadian Drama’s Foremother
Joudry, Hendry, and Simons: Examining Emotions
Pollock and Bolt: Re-viewing History and Power Politics
Sharon Pollock: "meaning through the making of theatre"
Ritter, Glass, Clark, and Lill: Enacting Vulnerabilities
Thompson and MacDonald: Performing Marginalization and Shape-Shifting
Judith Thompson: "through the looking glass, darkly"
Gale, Sears, Mojica, Cheechoo, Nolan, and Clements: Recording "Documemories"
MacLeod, Moscovitch, and Chatterton: Exploring Impasses
Writing for Children
Fiction about Children and Young Adults
Other Times and Space of Fantasy
Memoirists and Autobiographers
Commentators on Our World
Advisors and Observers
"Patricia Demers, an established scholar of early modern literature and gender, has turned more recently to an extensive examination of gender and national literature with Women’s Writing in Canada, an engaging account of mid-twentieth-century and contemporary writing in Canada, with some nods to pre-1950s women in the field."Stephen Cain, York University, The Canadian Historical Review
"With impressive critical acuity and obvious enthusiasm, Patricia Demers has a range of Canadian female artists in print, film, and music, each contributing to the national story. Non-Canadians interested in the cultural field will be richly informed."Patricia Keeney, York University, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature
“Showcasing the sustained and significant contribution of women writers to the development of Canadian and Québécois cultural and national identity from the mid-twentieth century to the present day, Women’s Writing in Canada presents an overview and sampling of a substantial body of work. Featuring novels, short stories, poetry, drama, autobiography, memoir, writing for children, journalism, songwriting, filmmaking, and cookbooks, this book provides a useful ‘overview picture’ of Canadian women’s writing during the important post-war period of the country’s cultural development.”Christl Verduyn, Department of English and Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University
“In view of recent political and cultural transformations related to women, both in Canada and abroad, this book is a highly relevant and timely contribution. Women’s Writing in Canada offers a comprehensive assessment of women’s cultural activity in Canada in the latter half of the twentieth century, and highlights their impressive accomplishments in several cultural fields.” Linda Morra, Department of English, Bishop's University