1st Edition

The Routledge Introduction to Auto/biography in Canada

    224 Pages 3 Color & 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 3 Color & 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 3 Color & 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Introduction to Auto/biography in Canada explores the exciting world of nonfiction writing about the self, designed to give teachers and students the tools they need to study both canonical and lesser-known works. The volume introduces important texts and contexts for interpreting life narratives, demonstrates the conceptual tools necessary to understand what life narratives are and how they work, and offers an historical overview of key moments in Canadian auto/biography. Not sure what life writing in Canada is, or how to study it? This critical introduction covers the tools and approaches you require in order to undertake your own interpretation of life writing texts. You will encounter nonfictional writing about individual lives and experiences—including biography, autobiography, letters, diaries, comics, poetry, plays, and memoirs. The volume includes case studies to provide examples of how to study and research life narratives and toolkits to help you apply what you learn. The Routledge Introduction to Auto/biography in Canada provides instructors and students with the contexts and the critical tools to discover the power of life writing, and the skills to study any kind of nonfiction, from Canada and around the world.


    Beginnings: Auto/biography, Biography, and Life Writing


    Studying Auto/Biography: Approaches, Conventions, and Autobiographical Truth

    Auto/biographical Genres and Forms



    Reading the Nation

    Exploration, Travel, and Settlement: Settler-Colonial and Indigenous Accounts

    Modern Canada Between WWI and WWII

    Indigenous Life Writing Since 1967

    Case Study: Maria Campbell, Halfbreed

    Race, Nation, and the Limits of Imagined Community

    Case Study, Lorena Gale Je me souviens: Memories of an Expatriate Anglophone Montréalaise Québécoise exiled in Canada. Talonbooks, 2001



    Telling and Reading Auto/biographical Stories

    Experimental and Hybrid Forms

    Case Study: Fred Wah, Diamond Grill

    Auto/biographical Comics in Canada

    Testimony and Witnessing

    Disability and Illness Life Writing

    Case Study: Dorothy Ellen Palmer, Falling For Myself (2019)

    Diasporic Lives, Diasporic Stories

    Asian Canadian Life Writing (Eleanor Ty, Wilfrid Laurier University)

    Case Study: Jenny Heijun Wills, Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related (Eleanor Ty, Wilfrid Laurier University)

    Queer Life Writing in Canada: 2SLGBTQ+ Lives and Stories

    Biography and Writers’ Lives

    Case Study: Terry Fox and Biography




    Case Study: The Rural Diary Archive


    Case Study: Paratexts I - Getting Started with Paratext

    Case Study: Paratexts II – Peritextual Analysis


    Case Study: Listening to Many Voices (A Conversation Between Julie Rak and Karina Vernon)



    TOOLKIT 1: Studying Auto/Biography

    TOOLKIT 2: Studying Auto/Biographical Comics

    TOOLKIT 3: Archives and Archival Research

    TOOLKIT 4: Studying Paratexts

    TOOLKIT 5: Studying Interviews


    Sonja Boon holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from Simon Fraser University. She is currently Professor of Gender Studies at Memorial University. Sonja is the author of four books, including Autoethnography and Feminist Theory at the Water’s Edge: Unsettled Islands (with Lesley Butler and Daze Jefferies, 2018) and What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home (2019). She is the 2020 recipient of the Royal Society of Canada’s Ursula Franklin Award in Gender Studies.

    Laurie McNeill holds a PhD in English from the University of British Columbia. She is currently a Professor of Teaching in the Department of English Language and Literatures at UBC and Director of First-Year and Interdisciplinary Programs. She is co-editor (with Kate Douglas) of Teaching Lives: Contemporary Pedagogies of Life Narratives (Routledge, 2020), and Online Lives 2.0, a special issue of the journal Biography, co-edited with John David Zuern (2015), and her most recent articles and chapters have been published in the journals a/b: Autobiography Studies and English Studies in Canada and the collection Inscribed Identities (Routledge, 2019).

    Julie Rak holds a PhD in English from McMaster University. She is the Henry Marshall Tory Chair in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada. Julie’s awards include the Killam Annual Professorship (2017-2018) and the Hogan Prize (2017). Her books and collections include False Summit: Gender in Mountaineering Nonfiction (2021), Boom! Manufacturing Memoir for the Popular Market (2013), Negotiated Memory: Doukhobor Autobiographical Discourse (2004), Auto/biography in Canada (2005), and Identity Technologies (2014).

    Candida Rifkind holds a PhD in English from York University. She is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Winnipeg. Her books and edited collections include Comrades and Critics: Women, Literature and the Left in 1930s Canada (winner of the 2009 Anne Saddlemeyer Award), Canadian Graphic: Picturing Life Narratives (co-edited with Linda Warley, winner of the 2016 Gabrielle Roy Prize), Documenting Trauma in Comics (co-edited with Dominic Davies) and “Migration, Exile, and Diaspora in Graphic Life Narratives,” a special issue of a/b: Autobiography Studies co-edited with Nima Naghibi and Eleanor Ty (2020).