Sasha Colby

Associate Professor

Areas of interest

Sasha Colby’s research asks how 20th century literary and visual history can be explored, represented, and shared through biographical and creative forms.


  • BA, MA (Victoria)
  • PhD (Sussex)


Sasha Colby's most recent book, The Matryoshka Memoirs: A Story of Ukrainian Forced Labour, the Leica Camera Factory, and Nazi Resistance (ECW, September, 2023, ed. Susan Renouf) uses creative non-fiction to explore WW II foreign forced labour through the oral history of Leica Camera factory labourer, Irina Kylynych, as this history collides with the story of Elsie Kühn-Leitz, the Leica heiress imprisoned and interrogated by the Gestapo on charges of "excessive humanity." Both The Matryoshka Memoirs and an ongoing biographical fiction project on French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, are funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, 2020-2025. Past work includes, Staging Modernist Lives: H.D., Mina Loy, Nancy Cunard, Three Plays and Criticism (McGill-Queen's UP, 2017; SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2009-2012), a collection of three plays about key modernist writers. Sasha has performed all 25 roles in The Tree, her one-woman play about H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and has toured the performance in North America, Europe, and Asia. Other SSHRC-funded projects include, Stratified Modernism: The Poetics of Excavation from Gautier to Olson, a study on archaeology and literature, and Voicing the Mosaic, a large-scale student/community installation and performance project on language and identity in Surrey. Sasha is currently seconded full-time as the director of SFU’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program, a hybrid MA for working-aged adults, where she teaches writing, literary modernism, and field schools in Oxford (biography) and Rome (Italian food history).


Future courses may be subject to change.