Women’s Writing in Canada

By Patricia Demers

© 2019

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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Women's Writing in English
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.9in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED AUG 2019

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Quick Overview

This study discusses the influences, crossovers, and multiple genres through which women writers represent a changed and changing Canada.

Women’s Writing in Canada

By Patricia Demers

© 2019

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.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Women's Writing in English
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.9in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    “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

    “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
  • Author Information

    Patricia A. Demers is a distinguished university professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments
    Preface

    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

    Fiction:
    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

    Film:
    Original Screenplays
    Adaptations of Women’s Writing in Canada
    Documentaries

    Poetry:
    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"

    Music:
    Folk Singers Reclaiming Traditions
    Punk, Pop, and Country
    Adult Contemporary Styling

    Drama:
    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
    Illustrated Narratives

    Non-Fiction:
    Memoirists and Autobiographers
    Commentators on Our World
    Advisors and Observers

    Conclusion
    Timelines
    Notes
    Works Cited |
    Credits
    Index

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