Department of English

University of Toronto

McGill, Robert

Robert McGill  Associate Professor of English; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor (UTSG) 
Office Phone: 416-946-8798
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 716
Robert McGill's Homepage:
Faculty Bookshelf
Office hours and/or leave status: Beginning Sept. 2016: Wed. 3:15-5:15 pm

B.A. (Queen’s), M.Phil. (Oxford), M.A. (East Anglia), Ph.D. (Toronto)

Robert McGill’s
research focuses on Canadian literature and issues related to creative writing. In his book The Treacherous Imagination, he addresses people’s sense of betrayal when they believe they have been turned into characters in novels or stories. Currently, he is undertaking two lines of SSHRC-funded research. First, he is considering teacher-student relations in creative writing workshops. Second, he is examining how the Vietnam War influenced Canadian literature and identity through to the present day. This project follows on his novel Once We Had a Country, which tells the story of Americans in Canada during the war era, and which he began as a Junior Fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows. He wrote his first novel, The Mysteries, as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of East Anglia. The Mysteries was named one of the top five Canadian fiction books of 2004 by Quill & Quire and was the Western Reads winner in 2006. Robert has also published short fiction in Hazlitt, Toronto Life, The Journey Prize Anthology, Grain, The Dalhousie Review, The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, and Descant. His article “‘The Germs of Empires’: Decivilization and Conrad’s Discontent” (The Conradian 27.1) won the Juliet McLauchlan Prize of the Joseph Conrad Society, and “The Sublime Simulacrum: Vancouver in Douglas Coupland’s Geography of Apocalypse” (Essays on Canadian Writing 70) won the George Wicken Prize in Canadian Literature.

Faculty Bookshelf
Once We Had a Country. Toronto: Knopf, 2013.

The Treacherous Imagination: Intimacy, Ethics, and Autobiographical Fiction. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2013.

The Mysteries. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2004.

Selected Articles
 “Against Mastery: Teaching Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water. Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry (2016).

“Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and 1960s America.” Canadian Poetry 76 (2015): 57-80.

The Place of Biographical Interpretation in Fiction Workshops.” New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing (2015).

The Stress of Lives.” Hazlitt. Random House of Canada, 5 July 2013.

Somatic Nationalism and Spectacle in Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising.” Studies in Canadian Literature 37.2 (2012): 213-29.

Biographical Desire and the Archives of Living Authors.” a/b: Auto/Biography 24.1 (2009): 129-45.

No Nation but Adaptation: ‘The Bear Came Over the Mountain,’ Away from Her, and What It Means to Be Faithful.” Canadian Literature 197 (2008): 98-111. 

“‘A Necessary Collaboration’: Biographical Desire and Elizabeth Smart.” English Studies in Canada 33.3 (2007): 67-88.

Somewhere I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: Alice Munro’s Fiction of Distance.” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 37.1 (2002): 9-29.

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