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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Taken by the Muse

On the Path to Becoming a Filmmaker

by (author) Anne Wheeler

NeWest Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Personal Memoirs, Literary, Entertainment & Performing Arts
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price

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Finalist for the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize at the 2021 Alberta Literary Awards!
Finalist for the High Plains Book Awards in the Nonfiction Category
Finalist for Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2021 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!

Laced with humour and revelation, Anne Wheeler's creative non-fiction stories tell of her serendipitous journey in the seventies, when she broke with tradition and found her own way to becoming a filmmaker and raconteur.

Join this celebrated screenwriter and director as she travels south of Mombasa after calling off her wedding; attempts to gain acceptance in a male-dominated film collective; travels to India to visit friends who are devoted to a radical Master, and ultimately discovers her sense of purpose and passion close to home, sharing stories that would otherwise be lost about ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

Taken by the Muse: On the Path to Becoming a Filmmaker is a must-read for anyone open to exploring the possibilities of who they are and what they might do with their lives--and for those who love a good story told with integrity and warmth.

About the author

Alberta-born Anne Wheeler earned degrees in mathematics and music, while performing in theatre whenever possible. Her first films were documentaries, but by the 1980s, she was making Canadian features such as Bye Bye Blues, The Diviners, Better than Chocolate, and Loyalties, winning numerous national and international awards. A master storyteller, she has garnered seven honorary doctorates, an Order of Canada, and a Lifetime Achievement Award (being the first woman to do so) from the Directors Guild of Canada. She lives in White Rock, BC, and continues to write, direct, and mentor younger filmmakers.

Anne Wheeler's profile page


  • Short-listed, High Plains Book Award, Nonfiction
  • Short-listed, Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize

Excerpt: Taken by the Muse: On the Path to Becoming a Filmmaker (by (author) Anne Wheeler)

This collection recounts a series of serendipitous encounters I had on my way to becoming a filmmaker. Such a career was not on the list of what a woman could be in the sixties. There was no film school or #metoo movement to suggest that my talent was worthy of attention; that it could provide a viable living; that I could be a visual artist, a writer, or a performer of any kind and not be a burden and a disappointment to my widowed mother. To follow my fancy would have been seen as a selfish thing to do.

But my passion was repeatedly stirred by unexpected challenges, by people who saw me more clearly than I saw myself. It was when I took risks, or remained open to possibilities, listened to my own rhythm, that my muse would suddenly be there and alter my course. It was not always through a person, though when it was it was never someone I would have expected. There were times when my muse was invisibly at work, provoking me, setting up obstacles, surprising me, triggering some magic, seducing me with the possibility that I could live with purpose, doing something I loved./p

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Taken By the Muse: On the Path to Becoming a Filmmaker:
"What Taken by the Muse ultimately demonstrates is that life is not a straight line with a clear trajectory. Rather, the moments of growth and joy occur when you veer off a given path and create something worthwhile out of the diversion."
~ Madeleine Wall, Quill & Quire
"Anne Wheeler is a fabulous filmmaker; her films are probing, truthful, fearless and an adventure to watch. Her storytelling in Taken by the Muse is equally captivating. It's been a while since I read an autobiographical work that moved me as this one has. It captures an important era in the lives of women determined to create themselves, with much experimentation and no apologies. It demonstrates, to our delight, how Anne Wheeler became the respected and beloved artist that she is."
~Alice Walker, award-winning author of The Color Purple
"This book will be of special interest to filmmakers and artists, but it will appeal to every woman whose ambition and passion are laced with the paralysis of self-doubt. Taken by the Muse is a brave, honest and fun exposure of one woman's hang-ups and triumphs as she ventured into what was then a new territory for women."
~ Bonnie Sherr Klein, Herizons
"Wheeler has a natural raconteur's flair for spinning a compelling tale, an understanding of where the dramatic beats fall in order to keep an audience hanging on every word."
~ Dorothy Woodend, The Tyee
"Taken by the Muse is quick-paced and far-flung, but you are in the hands of a master storyteller who will somehow manage to keep your glass filled and table upright all the way to the end."
~ Megan Clark, Alberta Views
"Taken by the Muse contains one after another of exciting and meaningful vignettes -- enough to last a lifetime and yet the book covers only one decade in Wheeler's life. We can look forward to much more from Anne Wheeler."
~ Lynne Bowen, The Ormsby Review
"Anne Wheeler pulls the reader on an extraordinary ride through the author's personal history and the beginnings of filmmaking in 1970s Alberta. Wheeler's experiences as a daughter, a female in a male-dominated profession, a traveller, a storyteller, a performer and listener, behind and in front of the camera, are riveting. Her breadth and depth as a woman with stories to tell, a filmmaker with a purpose and a contributor to culture in Edmonton and beyond are apparent in this open-hearted memoir."
~ Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Jury
"Dual-wielding confidence and curiosity, her writing deftly shifts between journeys of self-discovery and worldly exploration. Varied, exciting, and circuitous as her path may have been, she manages always to redirect attention to the big picture, looking past the spectacle to strike at the heart of things."
~ Pete Tolton, Billings Gazette

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