Sandra Djwa is a writer and teacher, best known for her biographies of distinguished Canadians.
Journey with No Maps
Journey with No Maps is the first biography of P.K. Page, a brilliant twentieth-century poet and a fine artist. The product of over a decade’s research and writing, the book follows Page as she becomes one of Canada’s best-loved and most influential writers. “A borderline being,” as Page called herself, she recognized the new choices offered to women by modern life but followed only those related to her quest for self-discovery.
The Politics of the Imagination: A Life of F.R. Scott (1987)
This is the story of an idealistic young man who wanted to become a poet. In fact he became a poet, a major constitutional lawyer and a political activist who helped shape Canada’s future. It is also a very readable, human story of a man with great charisma. The developing of Scott’s life required interdisciplinary research over seven years and, at the end of this process, biographer Sandra Djwa could say that Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had absorbed many of his principles of constitutional law from F.R. Scott, including his belief that Canada must repatriate her constitution from Great Britain.
The Politics of the Imagination: A Life of F.R. Scott (Hard Cover)
"This is a fine book: impeccably researched, stylishly written, endlessly informative and cleverly organized. It has something for everyone who reads books at all and who possesses some interest in the history of this country. Scott [has] been at the centre of well nigh all the major events of the first 85 years of this century … How wonderful that such an important story should be told so exceptionally."
Allen Mills, Winnipeg Free Press, November 1987.
"In her thoroughly documented and lucidly written study (it reads like a novel), Sandra Djwa has captured all the great qualities which made Frank Scott one of the most respected Canadians of this century, indeed, of any of our centuries."
Douglas C. Lochhead, Telegraph-Journal, 1988
F.R Scott: Une Vie
De Frank Scott, nous savons qu’il s’est surtout attaché, comme l’ecrit sa biographe Sandra Djwa, “à développer la nation (canadienne) quand il y avait sipeu à partir de quoi construire”, tant sur le plan politique que poétique. Ce qui allait parfois à l’encontre des aspirations de la majorité francophone de la Belle Province, dont il a par ailleurs cotoyé et traduit les poetes.
Mais comme nous l’apprend F. R. Scott, Une vie, qui parait ces lundi aux Editions du Boréal, meme dans les lettres canadiennes, Scott fait figure d’etre a part. Sa carrière litteraire a longtemps été éclipsée par sa vie d’homme public. Sa biographie aborde surtout l’homme sous cet aspect. Du reste, ce dernier a certainement consacré plus de temps au droit constitutionnel et à l’action politique au sein de la gauche canadienne qu’ à la poésie. De meme les Québécois risquent-ils de se souvenir davantage de lui comme l’avocat qui a réussi à les débarrasser de la loi du cadenas que comme le chantre des vieilles Laurentides.
Hervé Guay, “La loi du poète: Sandra Djwa raconte Frank Scott,” Le Devoir, 2001.
On F.R Scott: Essays on His Contributions to Law, Literature, and Politics
This book records the findings of the F.R. Scott Symposium held at Simon Fraser University in February 1981. The introduction to the symposium includes talks on Scott as a literary figure in the twenties (by biographer Leon Edel), as a political activist in the thirties (by J. King Gordon) and as a CCFer in the forties (by Thérèse Casgrain). Successive parts of the book introduce his great contributions to Canadian socialism, his role in civil liberties, constitutional law and reforms to the civil code of Québec. There is also a section on Scott the poet. The book concludes with a talk by Thomas Berger on “F.R. Scott and the Idea of Canada.”
A Life of Roy Daniells
Sandra Djwa has provided readers with a fascinating artifact: a cultural biography with a human face. Roy Daniells (1902-1979), an English professor who finished his career at the University of British Columbia, and an outstanding scholar, teacher and poet, influenced at least four generations of students and is the subject of Professing English. Once established as a professor, Daniells was a key figure - a cultural catalyst - in the consolidation of English as a discipline and the development of Canadian literature as a recognised body of writing and a legitimate focus of scholarship, interacting with major personalities of the era like Earle Birney, Northrop Frye, E.J. Pratt, Sinclair Ross, Margaret Laurence and A.S.P. Woodhouse.
Djwa's examination of his life is a moving personal story as well as a mini-history of literary studies in Canada. It is also the account of an individual struggling against a strict religious upbringing who turned instead to the devotional poets of the seventeenth century. In this biography, Daniells' life becomes a prism refracting aspects of the discipline - the old ties between religion and literature, the making of a professor, mentorship and the way it functioned, women in the academy and changes in the discipline and the professoriate. His devotion to English studies and his unflagging encouragement of young Canadian writers and students makes Daniells one of the greatest unsung heroes in recent history. Thanks to this wonderful biography, he will receive the recognition he so justly deserves.