Sasha Colby

Director, Graduate Liberal Studies, Associate Professor, Department of English

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. Her 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 teaches writing, literary modernism, and GLS field schools in Oxford (biography) and Rome (Italian food history).


  • BA, University of Victoria
  • MA, University of Victoria
  • PhD, University of Sussex


This instructor is currently not teaching any courses.