Valerie Henitiuk

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Valerie Henitiuk (born 1963 in Manning, Alberta) is an award-winning scholar researching aspects of the intersection of translation studies, world literature, Japanese literature and women's writing. She is a Canadian citizen, currently Executive Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence and Professor of English at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. Henitiuk has been a visiting scholar at both Harvard and Columbia Universities in the USA and at Kokugakuin University in Japan. She was previously on the faculty of the University of East Anglia (UK) and Director of the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT).

Early years[edit]

Henitiuk was born in Manning, Alberta in 1963, and grew up in various locations in western and northern Canada. An interest in acting led her to participate in a number of drama workshops while in her teens. Following extensive travels in USA and Central America she completed a BA (French + Latin, 1985) and MA (French Translation, 1988), was then employed by the Alberta Government Translation Bureau, and operated a freelance translation business. Ms. Henitiuk subsequently returned to the University of Alberta, obtaining an MA in Japanese Literature in 2000 and a PhD in Comparative Literature in 2005.

Educational background[edit]

Dr. Valerie Lynne Henitiuk has a PhD (Comparative Literature) from the University of Alberta. She also holds a Diplôme d'études linguistiques françaises, Université de la Sorbonne-Nouvelle. Her PhD was supported by Killam Prize and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council(SSHRC) fellowships, the Dorothy J. Killam Memorial Graduate Prize,[1] as well as an award allowing her to spend a year at Kokugakuin University in Japan conducting research (2002–03). Upon the completion of the PhD in 2005 Dr. Henitiuk was awarded the prestigious Governor General's Gold Medal as the foremost graduate at the University (all faculties).

In September 2005, Dr. Henitiuk began a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at The Center (now Institute) for Comparative Literature and Society,[2] directed by Gayatri Spivak. Her sponsor was David Damrosch.[3] This research project investigated the process by which national literature becomes world literature. Her fellowship was funded by SSHRC and she was awarded the inaugural SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize.[4][5]

Professional background[edit]

Since April 2013 Dr. Henitiuk has been a Professor of English and Executive Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (formerly Faculty Commons) at Grant MacEwan University. From March 2007 to March 2013 she was Senior Lecturer in Literature and Translation at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, UK and (from August 2011) Director of the BCLT[6] at UEA. Henitiuk previously held posts as acting Director and Associate Director of the BCLT.[7] From August 2010 to August 2011 she was a visiting scholar at Harvard University[8] funded by a fellowship[9] from the Leverhulme Trust. She specializes in the study of: World Literature, Comparative Literature, Translation Studies, East-West Cultural Exchange, and Women’s Writing.

Valerie Henitiuk is editor of the Routledge journal Translation Studies.[10] From 2007-11, she was editor of In Other Words: the journal for literary translators[11][12] and served on the editorial board from 2009-2011 for the transdisciplinary journal titled translation.[13] She was also, from 2008–12, on the faculty for the Nida School of Translation Studies,[14] a research symposium held annually in Italy.

Published works[edit]

Dr. Henitiuk has published scholarly articles on a variety of subjects including women's writing, the introduction of classical Japanese literature into the west, and comparisons between eastern and western texts. Her first major, and most frequently cited, article is "Translating Woman",[15] an analysis of gender translation issues which she has continued to explore during her research.[16] She has also discussed feminist aspects of literature in the context of magic realism.[17] Recent scholarship has concentrated on examinations of the way translations of 10th-century Japanese women’s writing has entered the western consciousness[18][19][20] and the political/cultural dimensions of translation of such works[21]

Henitiuk has authored a monograph on liminal imagery in a cross-cultural selection of women’s writing[22] and another book, designed to assist in the teaching of translation, looks at some fifty different translations from Japanese of a single passage from The Pillow Book.[23] She has also co-edited a collection of stories by women from India,[24] and a collection of critical essays on W. G. Sebald.[25]

Book chapters have analyzed boundary metaphors in Elizabeth Inchbald[26] and rape as a motif in literature.[27] Other chapters discuss gender aspects in The Tale of Genji,[28] The Kagerô Nikki[29] and The Pillow Book of Sei Shônagon.[30]

Public service[edit]

Besides her academic work, Dr. Henitiuk has been deeply involved in the promotion of literary translation as a professional discipline through a variety of organizations,[31] serving on national and international committees. As well she has been quoted regarding funding cuts to the arts[32] in the UK and Canada, and has made pedagogical contributions.[33]


  1. ^ Dorothy J. Killam Memorial Graduate Prize website
  2. ^ The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
  3. ^ David Damrosch - Harvard profile
  4. ^ SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize
  5. ^ Article about Valerie Henitiuk winning post-doctoral award
  6. ^ British Centre for Literary Translation
  7. ^ Article on Valerie Henitiuk becoming BCLT Acting Director
  8. ^ Harvard University - Comparative Literature website
  9. ^ Leverhulme fellowship announcement
  10. ^ Translation Studies journal
  11. ^ In Other Words: the journal for literary translators
  12. ^ Booktrust review of journal edited by Valerie Henitiuk
  13. ^ translation
  14. ^ Nida School
  15. ^ “Translating Woman: Reading the Female through the Male.” META 44.3 (September 1999) 469-84.
  16. ^ “Seeking Refuge in Prepubescent Space: The Strategy of Resistance Employed by The Tale of Genji’s Third Princess.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 28.2-3 (June-Sept. 2001) 193-217.
  17. ^ “Step into my Parlour: Magic Realism and the Creation of a Feminist Space.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 30.2 (June 2003) 410-27.
  18. ^ “‘Easyfree translation?’ How the Modern West Knows Sei Shônagon’s Pillow Book.” Translation Studies 1.1 (2008) 2-17.
  19. ^ “Squeezing the Jellyfish: Early Western Attempts to Characterize Translation from the Japanese.” Thinking through Translation with Metaphors. Ed. J. St. André. Manchester: St. Jerome, 2010. 144-60.
  20. ^ “Going to Bed with Waley: How Murasaki Shikibu Does and Does Not Become World Literature.” Comparative Literature Studies 45.1 (2008) 40-61.
  21. ^ “A Creditable Performance under the Circumstances? Suematsu Kenchô and the Pre-Waley Tale of Genji.” In TTR : traduction, terminologie, redaction, Vol. XXIII, no. 1, p. 41-70.
  22. ^ Embodied Boundaries: Images of Liminality in a Selection of Woman-Authored Courtship Narratives Studies in Liminality and Literature Vol. 7. Madrid: Gateway Press/ Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2007. ISBN 84-931843-5-7
  23. ^ Worlding Sei Shônagon: The Pillow Book in Translation. ISBN 978-0-7766-0728-3 University of Ottawa Press.
  24. ^ One Step towards the Sun: Short Stories by Women from Orissa. Ed. Valerie Henitiuk and Supriya Kar. Bhubaneswar: Rupantar, 2010. ISBN 978-81-906729-1-7
  25. ^ A Literature of Restitution: Critical Essays on W. G. Sebald. Ed. Jeannette Baxter, Valerie Henitiuk and Ben Hutchinson. Manchester University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7190-8852-0
  26. ^ “To Be and Not To Be: The Bounded Body and Embodied Boundary in Inchbald’s A Simple Story.” Romantic Border Crossings. Ed. J. Cass and L. Peer. Aldershot, Hampshire and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2008. 41-52. ISBN 978-0-7546-6051-4
  27. ^ “The Innovation of Rape? The Motif of Bodily Integrity Functioning as a Feminine Discourse System.” Writing after the Gaze: the Rupture of the Historical. Ed. A. Chilewska and S. Wilson. Edmonton: M.V. Dimic Research Institute, 2007. 49-68. OCLC 164938479
  28. ^ “Virgin Territory: Murasaki Shikibu’s Ôigimi Resists the Male.” Rpt. in Feminism in Literature: A Gale Critical Companion. Vol. 1 [of 6]: Antiquity-18th Century. Topics & Authors. Ed. J. Bomarito and J.W. Hunter. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005. 90-96. ISBN 978-0-7876-7574-5
  29. ^ “Walls, Curtains and Screens: Spatio-Sexual Metaphor in the Kagerô Nikki.” Secret Spaces, Forbidden Places: Rethinking Culture. Ed. F. Lloyd and C. O’Brien. Polygons: Cultural Diversities and Intersections. 4. NY and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2000. 3-16. ISBN 978-1-57181-788-4
  30. ^ “Prefacing Gender: Framing Sei Shônagon for a Western Audience, 1875-2006.” Translating Women. Ed. L. von Flotow. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2010. 247-69. ISBN 978-0-7766-0727-6
  31. ^ European Network for Comparative Literary Studies profile
  32. ^ Valerie Henitiuk quoted in Eastern Daily Press regarding arts funding cuts
  33. ^ “Resources.” Teaching World Literature. Ed. D. Damrosch. Options for Teaching series. NY: Modern Language Association, 2009. 401-16. ISBN 978-1-60329-034-0

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