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.