(With my office assistant, Toby, on the occasion of his 17th birthday!)
SUSAN GLICKMAN grew up in Montreal, the oldest of four children. She began her post-secondary education at Tufts University in Boston studying dance and drama, spent a year in Athens practicing amateur archaeology and professional tanning, and concluded at Oxford University with a degree in English Literature. She stayed on in England to answer phones and peruse the slush pile at Sidgwick & Jackson’s publishers, returning to Canada in 1977 to become an editorial assistant with a small left-wing press in Toronto.
This job somehow inspired her to write a doctoral dissertation on Shakespeare’s dramaturgy at the University of Toronto, where she taught English and Canadian Literature and Creative Writing until 1995. After that she taught part-time at at a variety of places, including the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, The Chang School of Ryerson University, the Lycée Français de Toronto, the Avenue Road School of the Arts, and online with Writers in Electronic Residence. After a lifetime of teaching, she now works only as a freelance editor specializing in academic books, a job which keeps her in touch with other people who appreciate semi-colons as much as she does.
Susan is the author of eight books of poetry from Signal Editions of Véhicule Press: Complicity (1983, o.p.), The Power to Move (1986, o.p.), Henry Moore’s Sheep and Other Poems (1990), Hide & Seek (1995), Running in Prospect Cemetery: New & Selected Poems (2004), The Smooth Yarrow (2012), What We Carry (2019), and Cathedral/Grove (2023).
Her first novel, The Violin Lover, came out in 2006 from Goose Lane Editions. It was named one of the year’s best novels by The National Post, won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for fiction, and was also recorded as an audiobook for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. A second novel, The Tale-Teller, was published by Cormorant Books in 2012 and was chosen as the “one book” across the Vaughan public library system. The French translation by Christiane Duchesne, published by Les Éditions du Boréal as Les aventures étranges et surprenantes d’Esther Brandeau, moussaillon in 2014, was a bestseller in Quebec city, where Susan was tied with Alice Munro among “foreign authors”! A third novel, Safe as Houses, a mystery set in Toronto, was published by Cormorant Books in September 2015 and got rave reviews in all the local papers. Her fourth full-length fiction, The Discovery of Flight, came out in 2018 with Inanna in their “Young Feminist” series, and was a choice of teen readers. It was a finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category of the 2019 International Book Awards and came out in translation for Prozart Press in Macedonia in 2020.
She is also the author of a trilogy of highly praised children’s books, Bernadette and the Lunch Bunch, (2008), Bernadette in the Doghouse (2011; nominated for the 2015 a Governor General’s Award for its translation by Christiane Duchesnes), and Bernadette to the Rescue (2012), all available in French translation from Les Éditions du Boréal.
Her literary history, The Picturesque & the Sublime: A Poetics of the Canadian Landscape (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1998), won both the Gabrielle Roy Prize for the best work of Canadian literary criticism in English and the Raymond Klibansky Prize for the year’s best work in the Humanities. In February 2022, The Porcupine’s Quill published a selection of Susan’s essays under the title Artful Flight. It has been receiving excellent reviews and won silver in the E-Lit awards in the essays category, and has been longlisted for the Forward Prize.
Susan has received Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council Awards in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, and published poetry, short stories, essays and book reviews in many periodicals including The Antigonish Review, Arc, Brick, Canadian Literature, Essays in Canadian Writing, The Fiddlehead, Grain, The Journal of Canadian Poetry, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, and Maisonneuve. Her work has been widely anthologized and some of her poetry has been translated into French.
She attended art school at Central Tech in Toronto from 2015-2019. The background image for this website is a large acrylic painting called “Glen Huron.” Here are a other few pieces in different media; there is a new section to this website titled “Art” if you want to see more. When making art, as with writing, Susan loves to observe things minutely. There are two things she particularly likes about the visual arts, however: they use the whole body, and they are quiet.
How To Be Red!, oil on canvas, 2022.
Portrait of my husband, Toan Klein (acrylic, winter 2016)
Birch branch and forsythia (drypoint etching, autumn 2015)