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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs


A Journey into Eastern Europe

by (author) Myrna Kostash

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Mar 1994
Personal Memoirs, Russia & the Former Soviet Union
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 1994
    List Price

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Myrna Kostash began the first of her travels into Eastern Europe in the spring of 1982. Over the next six years, she returned many times on a quest that took her into a landscape both foreign and somehow familiar. The result is Bloodlines, a heady brew of travel narrative, history, anecdote, political analysis and childhood memories.

As Kostash journeys through Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Polar and Ukraine, meeting writers, dissidents, friends and relatives, she is intensely at home one moment, profoundly disoriented the next. What has this part of the world got to do with me? she asks herself again and again. How do these people imagine the place I come from? Can I trust what I see of theirs? What is my claim on them? Theirs on me? She pieces her answers together into a stunning collage that is equal parts reportage, memory and imagination.

Provocative and deeply felt, Bloodlines is clear evidence that Myrna Kostash is one of the most exciting writers working in Canada today.


About the author

Born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, Myrna Kostash is a full-time writer, author of the classic All of Baba’s Children, the award-winning No Kidding: Inside the World of Teenage Girls and Bloodlines: A Journey into Eastern Europe. Among her other books are Reading the River: A Traveller’s Companion to the North Saskatchewan River, The Frog Lake Reader, The Seven Oaks Reader, and Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Runcimann Award (UK), and which won the 2010 City of Edmonton Book Prize and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Wilfred Eggleston Award for Best Nonfiction. In 2010, Kostash was awarded the Writers Trust Matt Cohen Award for a Life of Writing.

Alongside writing for numerous magazines, Kostash has written radio drama and documentary, television documentary, and theatre cabaret. Her journalism, essays, and creative nonfiction have been widely anthologized. She has been a frequent lecturer and instructor of creative writing as well as a writer-in-residence in Canada and the US.

Kostash has lectured across Canada and abroad in Kyiv, Warsaw, Cracow, Belgrade, Nis, Skopje, Sofia, Athens, Szeged, and Baia Mare. She has also served as Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada and on the Board of Governors of the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the Board of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta. She is co-founder of the Creative Nonfiction Collective, has been a volunteer at the Carrot community café, and serves on the Board of St John’s Institute in Edmonton.

Myrna Kostash makes her home in Edmonton, Alberta. For more information about her work, visit her website at

Myrna Kostash's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A bold, impassioned book that illuminages places and people little known to Canadians."

Montreal Gazette

"Partly a travel book, partly historical/political investigation and partly a merciless work of cultural self-analysis. It should establish Kostash's place among the world's pre-eminent cultural journalists."

Books in Canada

"A deeply intelligent, unconventional account of the author's journey into Eastern EuropeÖMyrna Kostash is something of an underacknowledged national treasure."

Globe & Mail

"A work of creative non-viction distinguished by courage and commitment and a shameless revelling in language."

Calgary Herald

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