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Photography by Lisa Hartley

Sandra Djwa
Curriculum Vitae (doc 111kb)


Sandra Djwa was born in Newfoundland and completed a B.Ed. at UBC (1964), and a Ph.D. (1968).  She joined the English department at Simon Fraser in 1968 and taught Canadian literature until 2005. Best known for her essays on poets and novelists (Atwood, Cohen, Lawrence), and as a biographer and editor, Djwa co-founded the Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures in 1973, and wrote the annual survey of “Poetry” for Letters in Canada, UTQ, 1980-84. In 1981 she established the E.J. Pratt editorial committee and co-edited Complete Poems of E.J. Pratt with Gordon Moyles, and Selected Poems of E.J. Pratt with Zailig Pollock and W.J. Keith. She was Chair of the English Department at SFU between 1986 and 1994, President of the Chairs and Heads of English in 1989-90, and the first recipient of the Trimark Women’s Mentor Award for mentoring younger colleagues in 1999.  She has been a member of the Royal Society of Canada since 1994.


She has published ten books including three major biographies. Her life of F.R. Scott, The Politics of the Imagination (1987), was published by McClelland and Stewart, following competitive bidding by Oxford, McClelland and Stewart, University of Toronto Press, and Douglas & McIntyre.  It was reviewed by most major newspapers and journals in English Canada and short listed for the Hubert Evans B.C. Non-Fiction prize, eventually losing out to P.K. Page's Brazilian Journal. Fifteen years after first publication, this biography was translated into French by Florence Bernard without any change in content as F.R. Scott: Une vie (2001). Highly praised in Québec, it was short-listed for the Governor-General's Award for French translation. She has also edited and introduced the memoirs of Carl F. Klinck, Giving Canada a Literary History (1991), and edited and introduced various critical editions of E.J. Pratt's poetry.


In 2002, she was awarded the Lorne Pierce gold medal for literature by the Royal Society of Canada for Professing English: A Life of Roy Daniells, given for “an achievement of special significance and conspicuous merit” in creative or critical work in English or French over a period of two years; was invited to speak on the Daniells biography at The Harbourfront Festival of Authors, Toronto; and received an honourary degree from Memorial University, Newfoundland, for her work on E.J. Pratt.  Her recent publications include essays on Margaret Atwood, P.K. Page, F.R. Scott, E.J. Pratt, and Al Purdy.

She latest book Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page won the 2013 Governor General Award for Non-fiction. She lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia.

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