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Sandra Djwa

Sandra Djwa

Photo: Lisa Hartley,

Sandra Djwa, FRSC, CM., is a writer, critic and cultural biographer. A Newfoundlander, she completed a PhD at the University of British Columbia. She taught Canadian literature in the English department at Simon Fraser University from 1968 to 2005 when she retired as J.S. Woodsworth Resident Scholar, Humanities. She was a part of the seventies movement to establish the study of Canadian literature, cofounded the Association for Canadian and Québec Literatures (ACQL) in 1973 and planned the inaugural meeting of the association in 1974. In the eighties she initiated textual studies of the poems of E.J. Pratt, and wrote "Poetry", for "Letters in Canada" for the University of Toronto Quarterly (1980-4), served as Chair of English at SFU from 1986 - 92 and was Chair of Heads and Chairs of English in Canada (1989). She is best known for her literary essays on Canadian writing and for three prize winning biographies including F.R. Scott (The Politics of the Imagination, 1987) and Roy Daniells (Professing English, 2002). Djwa's biography of Scott was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Prize in 1988 and a French translation, "F.R. Scott: Une vie," was shortlisted for the Governor-General's Award in French Translation in 2002. In 2002, her biography of Daniells was awarded the Lorne Pierce Gold medal for literature from the Royal Society. Her biography of PK Page, Journey With No Maps (2012) was a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize for B.C. Writing, and the Association of Canadian and Québec Literatures Gabrielle Roy Literary Prize. It was awarded a Governor General's Award for Non-fiction in 2013 and a Canada Prize in 2014. She has edited and introduced several books, including the collected and selected poems of E.J. Pratt and the memoirs of Carl F. Klinck. In 1981 Sandra Djwa was awarded a Killam Senior Fellowship, in 1994 elected to the Royal Society of Canada, and in 1999 the Trimark Award for Mentoring. In 2002, she was awarded an honorary degree from Memorial University, Newfoundland and in 2016, an honorary degree from McGill University, Québec. She received the Order of Canada in 2020. A general editor of the "Collected Works of P.K. Page," she is currently writing "Living on the Margins: Country, Writing, Gender".

West Vancouver


The Politics of the Imagination: A Life of F.R. Scott. McClelland & Stewart, 1987
Professing English: A Life of Roy Daniells. University of Toronto Press, 2002
Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2012


Lorne Pierce Gold Medal, Royal Society of Canada for Professing English: A Life of Roy Daniells, 2002
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