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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Where the World Was

by (author) Rosemary Sullivan

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Personal Memoirs, Literary, Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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“As a poet and writer, [Rosemary Sullivan] knows that life is lived not as theory but as practice, that . . . you can understand nothing about a place without listening to individual people and their stories.” — Margaret Atwood

Incomparable writer, activist, and world traveller Rosemary Sullivan has at long last written a book about herself, about her life quest to “meet the world, to celebrate its richness, to face its darkness.”

And what a fascinating book it is! Comprised of 21 essays spanning 5 decades and multiple continents, Where the World Was offers a vivid portrait of a writer who is instinctively drawn to other cultures and places.

Whether writing about a solo vacation inside the Iron Curtain, meeting the reclusive writer Elizabeth Smart in a dilapidated cottage in the English countryside, reflecting on how Chilean society responded to Pinochet’s coup, or tracking down the people who knew Svetlana Alliluyeva for Stalin’s Daughter, Sullivan delivers a master class in cultural studies, human rights advocacy, and empathy for the human condition.

About the author

ROSEMARY SULLIVAN is an acclaimed biographer, poet and editor. She is the author of nine books of non-fiction, including Villa Air-Bel, which was awarded a Canadian Jewish Book Award; Labyrinth Of Desire: Women, Passion and Romantic Obsession; By Heart: Elizabeth Smart—A Life and the #1 bestseller The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood, Starting Out. Her biography of Gwendolyn MacEwen, Shadow Maker, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction, the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award, the Toronto Book Award and the University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography. Sullivan’s journalistic pieces have won her a National Magazine Awards silver medal and a Western Journalism first prize for travelogue; her academic honours include Killam, Trudeau and Guggenheim fellowships. She lives in Toronto, where she is a professor of English at the University of Toronto.

Rosemary Sullivan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Few writers have done more to elevate the craft of literary nonfiction in this country than Rosemary Sullivan. Here, finally, are the stories behind the stories that inspired her art, won her acclaim, and cemented her reputation as an icon of Canadian literature. A swashbuckling journey through the life and mind of a writer obsessed with a simple question: ‘What drives a life?’ Her answer: loving obsession.”

Andrew Westoll, author of <i>The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary</i>

“From Canada to Russia, from Chile to Egypt, Sullivan’s inquisitive, intelligent, and compassionate eye explores for us the world of yesterday and also of today. This collection is literary journalism at its very best.”

Alberto Manguel, author of <i>Maimonides: Faith in Reason</i>

In Where the World Was, Rosemary Sullivan investigates our planet with compelling aesthetic, biographical, and political engagement. Her reader cannot help but be both captivated and enthused. A truly engrossing travel experience.”

Jane Urquhart, author of <i>A Number of Things</i>

“Thank goodness for Rosemary Sullivan, a woman who runs towards life with courage and curiosity, recording what she encounters with ecstatic artistic attention — a life of journeys that cracked open her self and shaped her into one of Canada’s finest writers.”

Merilyn Simonds, author of <i>Woman, Watching</i>

“Sullivan’s Where the World Was is a compelling and enlightening memoir that skillfully navigates the intersections of lives and stories. Her remarkable storytelling ability, coupled with her keen observations and insatiable curiosity, paints a vivid portrait of a truly fascinating individual. Whether the reader is an avid reader, an aspiring writer, or simply a seeker of captivating tales, this book is sure to leave a lasting mark.”

<i>Atlantic Books Today</i>

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