Teaching and Research Interests: Canadian Literature; Creative Writing
B.A. (Queen’s), M.Phil. (Oxford), M.A. (East Anglia), Ph.D. (Toronto)
Robert McGill’s research focuses on creative writing and on Canadian Literature. His latest novel is A Suitable Companion for the End of Your Life, published by Coach House Books in spring 2022. His previous book, War Is Here: The Vietnam War and Canadian Literature, examines the war’s influence on Canadian identity. It follows his novel Once We Had a Country, which tells the story of Americans in Canada during the war era. His first novel, The Mysteries, was named one of the top five Canadian fiction books of the year by Quill & Quire.
Robert has published short fiction in The Atlantic, Hazlitt, Toronto Life, The Journey Prize Anthology, Grain, The Dalhousie Review, The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, and Descant. He is also the author of The Treacherous Imagination: Intimacy, Ethics, and Autobiographical Fiction, which addresses people’s sense of betrayal when they believe they have been turned into characters in novels or stories. In 2018, Robert was named a winner of the Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award by CCWWP (Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs). In 2020, he published the online anthology Canadian Literature of the Vietnam War.
War Is Here: The Vietnam War and Canadian Literature. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP, 2017.
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 and Stories
"Something Something Alice Munro." The Atlantic. 23 July 2021.
“Teaching Critical Literary Citizenship.” Co-authored with André Babyn. The Writer’s Notebook. Feb 2019. Web.
“Negotiating Cultural Difference in Creative Writing Workshops.” Co-authored with Noor Naga. Pedagogy 18.1 (2018): 69-86.
‘That’s My Boy’: Challenging the Myth of Literary Mentorship as In Loco Patris.” Co-authored with Neil Surkan. Journal of Creative Writing Studies 3.1 (2018): 1-21.
"Alice Munro and Personal Development." The Cambridge Companion to Alice Munro. Ed. David Staines. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. (2016)
"Mistaken Identities in 'The Bear Came Over the Mountain.'" Alice Munro. Ed. Robert Thacker. New York: Bloomsbury. (2016)
"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.
We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.