Kim Echlin (born 1955) is a Canadian novelist, translator, editor and teacher. She has a PhD in English literature for a thesis about the translation of the Ojibway Nanabush myths. Echlin has worked for CBC Television, the Ottawa Citizen and several universities. She currently works as a creative writing instructor at the University of Toronto School for Continuing Studies. Her 2009 novel, The Disappeared, featured on the shortlist for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Kim Echlin

Burlington, Ontario
Alma materMcGill University, Paris-Sorbonne University, York University
GenreLiterary fiction

Early life and educationEdit

Kim Echlin was born in Burlington, Ontario in 1955. While attending Aldershot High School, Echlin's writing was noticed by her English teacher.[1] She studied at McGill University and Paris-Sorbonne University, before completing a PhD in English literature at York University, writing a thesis about the translation of the Ojibway Nanabush myths.[2][3]


Echlin is a writer, journalist and educator. She has worked as an arts producer for CBC Television's The Journal and fiction editor of the Ottawa Citizen,[2][4] and has taught journalism and creative writing at a number of Canadian universities.[2] She is currently a creative writing instructor at University of Toronto School for Continuing Studies, and previously taught at the University of Alberta Women and Words Conference.[5] She was the Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence at McMaster University and the Hamilton Public Library in 2015-16.[6]

Echlin is a founding trustee of the Loran Scholars Foundation.[7] She is a board member of El Hogar Projects, Canada.[8]


Elephant Winter, the story of a young woman who returns to her rural Ontario home to tend to her dying mother and finds her life altered due to a romantic relationship with a wildlife caretaker at a neighboring safari park.[9] The book was described as "enormously engaging" by Maureen Garvie in Quill & Quire.[10] Frank Moher further observed in a Saturday Night review of the novel that Sophie's growing empathy is reflected by "prose that is as extravagant in feeling as it is in expression". Kirkus Reviews described the book as a "sometimes emotionally scattered debut" but praised it for its "intriguing lore".[11]

Echlin draws on the ancient myths of Demeter and Persephone, as well as on the story of Inanna, in her second novel, Dagmar's Daughter, in which a motherless teen is almost drowned before finding safety on a small island. The woman's story is interwoven with those of three generations of gifted Gaelic-speaking women into a novel that, although difficult, "rewards the effort", according to Canadian Woman Studies reviewer Clara Thomas.[12] Noting that the novel's plot moves at a brisk pace, Elaine Jones added in Resource Links that Dagmar's Daughter relates "a powerful and intriguing story".[13]

Echlin has adapted the ancient Sumerian myth of Inanna for an illustrated book, Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer, published in 2003.[14] Associated with the planet Venus, Inanna is an ancient goddess that figured prominently in the civilization that existed in the location of modern-day Iraq over four thousand years ago.[15] Although lost for centuries, her stories, carved on stone tablets, were recently recovered by archeologists. Sister to Gilgamesh, Inanna grows to maturity and through her determination, wisdom, and ambition she learns the extent of her own destructive and creative powers. In Inanna Echlin relates the warrior goddess's story in poetic form, from her birth as the daughter of the moon god to her growing desire for her handsome shepherd brother Dumuzi, her death and descent into the underworld, and her fight to regain her place on Earth as well as her power within the pantheon of Sumerian gods. Noting that the book, which is illustrated by European artist Linda Wolfsgruber, would be most valuable to young-adult readers, Patricia D. Lothrop wrote in School Library Journal that Inanna "could be an enticing introduction to a little-known figure from ancient Near East myth".[16] In crafting her book-length story, Echlin positions traditional stories about the goddess "in chronological order, following Inanna's development from an eager, ambitious goddess to the position of the all-powerful queen whose 'light shines through everything,'" according to Resource Links contributor Joan Marshall. Marshall dubbed the book a "fascinating tale of a young goddess who knows how to get the power she wants".[17]

Echlin's 2009 novel, The Disappeared was shortlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize.[18] The Disappeared deals with Cambodian genocide and its connection to Canadian history.[19][20]

Under the Visible Life was published in 2015.[21] In 2015, Echlin also published Inanna: A New English Version, a new translation of the Inanna myth with extensive linguistic and cultural notes.[22]

List of worksEdit


  • Elephant Winter (1997) ISBN 978-0143170587
  • Dagmar's Daughter (2001) ISBN 978-0143170594
  • Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer (2003) ISBN 978-0888994967
  • Elizabeth Smart: A Fugue Essay on Women and Creativity (2004) ISBN 978-0889614420
  • The Disappeared (2009) ISBN 978-0143170457
  • Under the Visible Life (2015) ISBN 978-1781255803
  • Inanna: A New English Version (2015) ISBN 978-0143194583

Other writingEdit

  • (Translator and editor with Nie Zhixiong) Yuan Ke, Dragons and Dynasties: An Introduction to Chinese Mythology (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 978-0140586534
  • (Editor) To Arrive Where You Are: Literary Journalism from the Banff Centre for the Arts (Banff, Alberta: Banff Centre Press, 1999) ISBN 978-0920159712
  • (Co-translator) Rasha Omran, Defy the Silence (Hamilton: Hamilton Arts & Letters, 2018) ISBN 978-0993721328

Awards and honorsEdit

  • 2011: 1st Prize: Barnes and Noble Discovery Writer for The Disappeared
  • 2010: Nominated (long list): Impac Dublin Literary Award for The Disappeared
  • 2009: Nominated: Giller for The Disappeared
  • 2006: 1st Prize for Creative Non-Fiction, CBC/Air Canada Literary Awards: for I, Witness (on the Cambodian genocide).
  • 1997: Torgi Award, for Elephant Winter
  • 1997: Nominated, Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award for Elephant Winter
  • 1986: Nominated, National Magazine Award for Travel Writing for "Island Sacrifices"


  1. ^ Kenny, Amy (18 February 2016). "New Writer in Residence Wants to Use Storytelling to Build Community". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 6 July 2019 – via EBSCOhost.
  2. ^ a b c Jessop, Paula (October 28, 2012). "Kim Echlin". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  3. ^ Echlin, Kim A. (1982). The translation of Ojibway: The Nanabush myths (Thesis). York University. ISBN 0315086327.
  4. ^ Echlin, Kim (April 14, 2016). "I want to be part of the conversation". Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  5. ^ "Kim Echlin". University of Toronto School for Continuing Studies. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Balch, Erica; Czerneda, Colin (February 1, 2016). "Meet McMaster's Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence". McMaster University. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "Our Supporters: Kim Echlin". Loran Scholars Foundation. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  8. ^ Lavoie, Joanna (February 14, 2014). "Beach teen shrugs off vacation for volunteer work this March Break". Beach Mirror. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  9. ^ Oloizia, Richard; Havens, Shirley E. (1999). "Word of Mouth". Library Journal. 124 (16): 160 – via EBSCOhost.
  10. ^ Garvie, Maureen (January 1997). "Elephant Winter". Quill & Quire. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  11. ^ "Elephant Winter". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  12. ^ Thomas, Clara (2001). "Dagmar's Daughter". Canadian Woman Studies. 21 (2): 150–151.
  13. ^ Jones, Elaine (2002). "Dagmar's Daughter". Resource Links. 8 (1): 55.
  14. ^ Beattie, Steven W. (August 13, 2015). "Inanna, Gilgamesh, and Bruno Mars: Kim Echlin's ongoing quest narrative". Quill & Quire. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Long, Joanna Rudge (2004). "Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer". Horn Book Magazine. 80 (1): 94 – via EBSCOhost.
  16. ^ Lothrop, Patricia D. (2004). "Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer (Book)". School Library Journal. 50 (3): 229 – via EBSCOhost.
  17. ^ Marshall, Joan (2003). "Inanna". Resource Links. 9 (2): 36–37.
  18. ^ "The 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize Announces its Shortlist". Scotiabank Giller Prize. October 6, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  19. ^ Y-Dang, Troeung (2013). "Witnessing Cambodia's Diappeared". University of Toronto Quarterly. 82 (2): 150–167. doi:10.3138/UTQ.82.2.150.
  20. ^ Sofer, Dalia (January 8, 2010). "Love in the Time of Genocide". New York Times. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  21. ^ "The 50 most anticipated books of 2015 (the first half, anyway)". The Globe and Mail, January 2, 2015.
  22. ^ "Inanna: A New English Version". Publishers Weekly. January 25, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2019.