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FASS News, English
Sandra Djwa, professor emeritus and former chair of English at Simon Fraser University, has been named to the Order of Canada for her contributions to the fields of Canadian literature and Canadian literary criticism. The honour, bestowed by the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, is awarded to individuals who make extraordinary contributions to the nation.
Djwa taught Canadian literature at SFU for 37 years and served as department chair between 1986 and 1994. As the author of 10 books and numerous articles on Canadian literature, Djwa has received many awards in her long career. She earned the 2013 Governor-General’s Award for non-fiction and the 2014 Canada Prize in the Humanities for her publication, Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page. In 2019, she was made a lifetime member of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC)—one of Canada’s highest academic honours.
Djwa says she is “delighted” to receive this most recent accolade.
“The Order of Canada is a real honor. It recognizes a lifetime’s work in Canadian culture—in my case to Canadian literature.”
The Order of Canada investiture ceremony typically takes place in the fall, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, the ceremony is postponed indefinitely.
Meanwhile, Djwa is presently completing a chapter for her latest book, a project situated in the genres of memoir and literary history. Provisionally titled Living on the Margins: Country, Writing, Gender, the book “traces the development and teaching of a Canadian writing as I experienced it.”
Connecting her own life to the Canadian works she studied and taught, she explains, “I am from Newfoundland and my first book was written on E.J. Pratt, who then was considered Canada’s major poet, also a Newfoundlander.
“My successive biographies of F.R. Scott, Roy Daniells and P.K. Page were all the lives of poets (who happened to do other things as well), and the process of writing introduced me to the movers and shakers of the Canadian literary world from 1960 on.”
Djwa recalls fondly that it was also “a great affirmation for the discipline” when Alice Munro received the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Likewise, Djwa’s latest honour is confirmation of her sustained contributions to the study of Canadian literature.