Fonds F0715 - Alissa York fonds

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Alissa York fonds

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2.8 m of textual records
2 prints : posters ; 50 x 35 cm or smaller

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Biographical history

Alissa York was born in Athabasca, Alberta and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied English Literature at McGill University and the University of Victoria, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1993. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph in 2016. Her thesis, “How Do I look?: In Search of the Female Gaze,” was a work of creative nonfiction blending memoir and interviews.

In 1999, York published a collection of short stories titled, Any Given Power (1999). She is the author of four novels, Mercy (2003), Effigy (2007), Fauna (2010), The Naturalist (2016), and Far Cry (2023).

Her novel, Effigy, was short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and her short stories have won the Journey Prize and Bronwen Wallace Award.

York’s writing process involves a year of research where she gathers notes, writes character sketches, and arranges her notes. She then writes her novels' scenes in long-form from the perspective of every character. She cuts up the script into pieces and arranges it on her kitchen floor in various orders, then tapes the pieces to create scrolls or "assemblies." She repeats the process until she finds an arrangement which will constitute the order of the final book. The end result is a narrative form in her novels in which the point of view shifts constantly.

York lives in Toronto with her husband, the artist Clive Holden.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of handwritten and typescript novel drafts, source notes, character and scene sketches, and research material accumulated and created by Alissa York as part of her process to write her short story collection, Any Given Power (1999), and her novels: Mercy (2003), Effigy (2007), Fauna (2010), The Naturalist (2016), and Far Cry (2023).

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General note

Dates for files are determined based on an assumption about Alissa York's writing process. The archivist assumed that York began researching for her books in the year that her previous book was published and continues her research and writing until the year previous to the book's publication.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

  • 2017-12-08: C. Long (Creation)
  • 2024/01/16 K. Kerr. Update to include accession 2023-035.

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