Writer in Residence Programme 2010

Susan Swan visits Amsterdam

1-31 July 2010

Journalist, feminist, novelist, activist, teacher, Susan Swan’s impact on the Canadian literary and political scene has been far-reaching. Susan Swan’s critically acclaimed fiction has been published in twenty countries.

Swan’s last novel, What Casanova Told Me, was published by Knopf in Canada and in the US by Bloomsbury. Swan has retired from her position of Associate Professor of Humanities at York University. In 1999-2000, she was awarded the Millennial Robarts Chair in Canadian Studies. As chair, she hosted the successful Millennial Wisdom Symposium in Toronto featuring artists and social scientists debating the ways the past is recreated in popular culture. The symposium was inspired by her research into her book about Casanova.

Another topic that holds Swan’s interest is euthanasia. She has followed the ongoing debate from an international perspective and in her opinion the Netherlands has been ahead of most countries in in its approach of the subject. The Dutch debate has shifted away from the big ethical questions towards the more practical matters like how to register euthanasia and how to design the correct laws for euthanasia. Therefore Amsterdam is the ideal place for her to write an article about this controversial subject for Granta magazine in the UK. Some of her research will also find its way into her other work in progress, a novel titled The Dead Celebrities Club, which tells the story of a young woman who runs a dead pool on the Internet.

Recent essays by Swan have appeared in the new Carol Shields anthology, Evocation and Echo, edited by Aritha Van Herk and Conny Steenman-Marcusse, Barkhuis Groningen 2009 and The First Man in My Life (daughters write about their fathers) edited by Sandra Martin and re-issued by Penguin Canada 2009.

A Dutch translation of one of the works of Susan Swan was published by Arena in 1996: Genadeloze meisjes (The wives of Bath). The film Lost & Delerious by Léa Pool was based on this novel.

More about Susan Swan’s work:

Fleur van Koppen


Fleur van Koppen

Programme officer

[email protected]