Suzette Mayr

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Suzette Mayr
Born Calgary, Alberta
Occupation Author, professor
Language English
Nationality Canadian
Ethnicity German, Afro-Caribbean
Education Honours B.A. in English, M.A. in Creative Writing
Alma mater University of Calgary, University of Alberta
Period 1991 to present
Genre Literature

Suzette Mayr is a Canadian poet and novelist who has written three critically acclaimed novels. Currently an associate professor at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Arts,[1] Mayr's writing and teaching is often focused on issues of race and ethnicity in Canadian culture. Mayr's works have been nominated for several literary awards.

Biography[edit]

Suzette Mayr was born in Calgary, Alberta.[2] Originally planning to study science in her post-secondary career, Mayr changed focus due to her strong performance in English.[3] A creative writing course at the University of Calgary led to her decision to pursue a writing career. She graduated with an Honours bachelor degree in English Following her graduation from the University of Calgary, Mayr went on to acquire a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Alberta.

Mayr worked as a waitress and sandwich maker before establishing herself as a professional writer.[2] In addition to her three novels (Moon Honey, The Widows and Venous Hum), Mayr has published books of poetry and co-edited a literary anthology. Her novels and other literary works have been nominated for several awards. In 2002, Mayr participated in the Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Writers Program at the University of Calgary, where she is now an associate professor for the Department of English and teaches courses on creative writing and contemporary literature studies. Mayr, a Canadian of German and Afro-Caribbean background,[2] often explores issues of race, identity and sex in her writing through the stylistic use of humour, cultural mythologies and surreal imagery.

Novels[edit]

Moon Honey (1995)[edit]

When eighteen-year-old white waitress Carmen becomes black, her fiancé Griffin is delighted, having 'always wanted to sleep with a black woman.' However, his racist mother Fran is furious that Griffin still wants to marry her. Fran is married to a man called God, and having an affair with her boss. While Griffin is away in Europe for six months, Carmen sleeps with his best friend. Upon Griffin’s return, he informs Carmen he does not want to marry her, but rather he wants to marry Renata, a woman he met while overseas, who later runs off with a lesbian liquor store cashier. Moon Honey was published by NeWest Press.

The Widows (1998)[edit]

Hannelore Schmitt, Frau Schnadelhuber and Fraulein Clotilde are elderly German immigrant women who are determined to plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel, aided by Schmitt's granddaughter Cleopatra Maria. The narration of the novel moves between the day they go over the Falls, and the events that lead up to that day. The novel is coloured with quotes from various individuals who went over the falls, including Annie Edson Taylor (the first person to survive riding over Niagara Falls in a barrel), who becomes a character in the story. The Widows was published by NeWest Press. The novel was translated into German by Christine Struh and Ursula Wukfekamp in 1999, with the title 3 Witwen und ein Wasserfall [3]

Venous Hum (2004)[edit]

Venous hum is the benign condition experienced by Lai Fun Kugelheim, the protagonist of the novel, in which one can hear the vibration, or hum, of one’s own blood as it flows through his or her veins. When an old high school acquaintance dies, Lai Fun and her best friend Stefanja Dumanowski are moved to organize a twenty-year reunion. As Lai Fun deals with the challenges of her self-appointed task, her same-sex marriage is falling apart as she has an affair with Stefanja's husband. Adding to Lai Fun's problems, her mother is an immigrant vampire vegetarian who cares only for her daughter's happiness. Venous Hum has been described as 'a funny, insightful, sexy, intelligent horror novel with memorable characters that never takes itself too seriously.' [4] The novel was published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Monoceros (2011)[edit]

Monoceros will be Mayr's fourth published novel. It is slated for release in April 2011. The story revolves around the suicide of a seventeen-year-old bullying victim and the effect it has on the people who were directly and indirectly involved in his life. Monoceros was published by Coach House Books.[5] The book was inspired in part by a real-life incident of anti-gay bullying at the high school where Mayr's partner was teaching.[6]

Anthologies[edit]

Boundless Alberta (1993)[edit]

'Scalps' was Mayr's first story to be included in an anthology. Boundless Alberta was edited by Aritha Van Herk and published by NeWest Pres.[7]

Eye Wuz Here (1996)[edit]

Mayr's 'Glass Anatomy' is included in this collection of stories by women writers under the age of 30. Eye Wuz Here was published by Douglas & McIntyre.[8]

Threshold (1999)[edit]

Mayr's story 'Toot Suite Matricia' is included in this collection of literary stories by Albertan authors. Threshold was published by the University of Alberta Press.[9]

And Other Stories (2001)[edit]

Mayr's story 'Nipple Gospel' is included in this anthology of stories by Canadian authors written in a postmodern style. And Other Stories was edited by George Bowering and published by Talonbooks.[10]

Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction (2004)[edit]

Published by Broadview Press and edited by Mayr and Julia Gaunce, this anthology includes twenty- six stories and spans from the nineteenth to twenty-first century. The stories are organized chronologically and contain annotations for student readers.[11]

So Long Been Dreaming (2004)[edit]

Mayr's short story 'Toot Sweet Matricia' is included in an anthology for the second time.[12] So Long Been Dreaming contains science fiction and fantasy stories by authors of Aboriginal, African or Asian descent. The anthology was published by Arsenal Pulp Press and edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan.

Further information: So Long Been Dreaming

Poetry[edit]

Zebra Talk (1991)[edit]

Published by disOrientation chapbooks, Zebra Talk is a collection of poems in chapbook form dealing with the marginalization of both mixed race and homosexual peoples.[13]

Tale (2001)[edit]

Published by Stride Gallery, Tale is a collection of illustrated poems (illustrations by Geoff Hunter) referencing the personal experiences of both Mayr and Hunter.[14] The collection explores relationships, sexuality and love.

Award nominations[edit]

Mayr's first published novel, Moon Honey, was nominated for two awards by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta; the Georges Bugnet Award for Best Novel and the Henry Kreisel Award for Best First book.[15] The Widows, Mayr’s second novel, was short listed for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best book in the Canadian-Caribbean region.

Other[edit]

In 2010, she served on the jury for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, a literary award for emerging LGBT writers in Canada, selecting Nancy Jo Cullen as that year's prize winner.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Suzette Mayr." University of Calgary.
  2. ^ a b c Kamboureli, Smaro. Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literatures in English. Don Mills: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
  3. ^ a b Stallworthy, Bob. "In Silhouette: Profiles of Alberta Writers." Page 109. Frontenac House. Mar. 2009.
  4. ^ Parke, Darren. "One Touch of Venus." Vue Weekly. 27 Oct. 2004.
  5. ^ "Monoceros." Coach House Books. 2011.
  6. ^ "Ten Questions, with Suzette Mayr". Open Book Toronto, June 17, 2011.
  7. ^ "Suzette Mayr - Representative Publications." University of Calgary.
  8. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Glass Anatomy." Eye Wuz Here. Ed. Shannon Cooley. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1996. Print.
  9. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Toot Suite Matricia." Threshold: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing from Alberta. Ed. Srdja Pavlovic. Edmonton, Alberta: Univ. of Alberta, 1999. 113. Print.
  10. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Nipple Gospel." And Other Stories. Ed. George Bowering. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2001. Print.
  11. ^ "The Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction." Broadview Press.
  12. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Toot Suite Matricia." So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy. Ed. Uppinder Mehan and Nalo Hopkinson. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp, 2004. Print.
  13. ^ Petersen, Katie. "Defying Categorization: The Work of Suzette Mayr." Canadian Women Studies 23.2."
  14. ^ "Tale." Stride Art Gallery Association.
  15. ^ "Alberta Literary Competition Finalists." Writers Guild of Alberta.
  16. ^ "Writer Nancy Jo Cullen is a rising talent". Xtra!, September 9, 2010.

External links[edit]