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Rosemary Sullivan

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  • Fellow 2008
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Former Canada Research Chair in Creative Non-fiction and Biographical Studies
University of Toronto
Profile

Biographer and poet Rosemary Sullivan is an award-winning writer, journalist and a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto. Before retiring, she was Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto in Creative Non-fiction and Biographical Studies from 2001 to 2013, and the founding director of the MA Program in English in the Field of Creative Writing in 2004 to 2013. Between 2004-07 she was Maclean Hunter Chair of Creative Non-Fiction/ Literary Journalism Program at Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta.
Her latest book Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, was published in 23 countries, and won the Writers’ Trust Hillary Weston Non-Fiction Award 2015; BC National Non-Fiction Award, 2016; RBC Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, 2016;
The American Biographers International Organization Plutarch Prize for Best Biography of 2015. It was a Finalist for PEN/ Bograd Weld Award for Biography and the National Books Critics Circle Award for Biography, 2016. The London Daily Mail named it Best Book of the Year. 


Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape and a House in Marseille (HarperCollins), published in 2006, won the Canadian Jewish Book’s Yad Vashem prize for Holocaust History and Scholarship. Other books include Cuba: Grace Under Pressure with photographs by Malcolm David Batty (2003); Labyrinth of Desire: Women, Passion, and Romantic Obsession (2001); and the national best seller The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out (1998). Her 1995 biography Shadow Maker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwen won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction, the Canadian Author's Association Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the University of British Columbia's Medal for Canadian Biography, the City of Toronto Book Award and was nominated for the Trillium prize. It became the basis for Brenda Longfellow's award-winning documentary Shadow Maker (1998). Sullivan's first biography, By Heart: Elizabeth Smart/A Life (1991) was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction. She has published three books of poetry including Bone Ladder: Selected Poems (2001), Black Moss Press released Memory-Making: The Selected Essays of Rosemary Sullivan that included essays published in Canadian and International magazines.


Her journalistic pieces have won her a National Magazine Awards silver medal and a Western Journalism Awards first prize for travelogue. She is the recipient of Guggenheim, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and Jackman Fellowships and was awarded the Lorne Pierce Medal by the Royal Society for her contributions to Literature and Culture. In 2012 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada. A Montrealer by birth, Rosemary Sullivan received her B.A. from McGill University, her M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and her Ph.D. from the University of Sussex.