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Suzette Mayr is a Canadian novelist who has written five critically acclaimed novels. Currently a professor at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Arts,[1] Mayr's works have both won and been nominated for several literary awards.

Suzette Mayr
Suzette Mayr at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 2017
Mayr at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 2017
Calgary, Alberta
OccupationAuthor, professor
EducationHonours B.A. in English, M.A. in Creative Writing, PhD in Creative Practice
Alma materUniversity of Calgary, University of Alberta, University of New South Wales
Period1991 to present



Suzette Mayr was born in Calgary, Alberta.[2] Originally planning to study science in her post-secondary career, Mayr changed focus due to her strong performance in English.[3] A creative writing course at the University of Calgary led to her decision to pursue a writing career. She graduated with an Honours bachelor's degree in English Following her graduation from the University of Calgary, Mayr went on to acquire a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Alberta and a PhD from the University of New South Wales.

Mayr worked as a waitress and sandwich maker before establishing herself as a professional writer.[2] In addition to her five novels (Moon Honey, The Widows, Venous Hum, Monoceros, and Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall), Mayr has published books of poetry and co-edited a literary anthology. Her novels and other literary works have been nominated for several awards. In 2002, Mayr participated in the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program at the University of Calgary, where she is now a professor for the Department of English and teaches courses on creative writing and contemporary literature studies. Mayr, a Canadian of German and Afro-Caribbean background,[2] often explores issues of race, identity and sex in her writing through the stylistic use of humour, cultural mythologies and surreal imagery.


Moon Honey (1995)Edit

When eighteen-year-old white waitress Carmen becomes black, her fiancé Griffin is delighted, having 'always wanted to sleep with a black woman.' However, his racist mother Fran is furious that Griffin still wants to marry her. Fran is married to a man called God, and having an affair with her boss. While Griffin is away in Europe for six months, Carmen sleeps with his best friend. Upon Griffin's return, he informs Carmen he does not want to marry her, but rather he wants to marry Renata, a woman he met while overseas, who later runs off with a lesbian liquor store cashier. Moon Honey was published by NeWest Press.

The Widows (1998)Edit

Hannelore Schmitt, Frau Schnadelhuber and Fraulein Clotilde are elderly German immigrant women who are determined to plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel, aided by Schmitt's granddaughter Cleopatra Maria. The narration of the novel moves between the day they go over the Falls, and the events that lead up to that day. The novel is coloured with quotes from various individuals who went over the falls, including Annie Edson Taylor (the first person to survive riding over Niagara Falls in a barrel), who becomes a character in the story. The Widows was published by NeWest Press. The novel was translated into German by Christine Struh and Ursula Wukfekamp in 1999, with the title 3 Witwen und ein Wasserfall [3]

Venous Hum (2004)Edit

Venous hum is the benign condition experienced by Lai Fun Kugelheim, the protagonist of the novel, in which one can hear the vibration, or hum, of one's own blood as it flows through his or her veins. When an old high school acquaintance dies, Lai Fun and her best friend Stefanja Dumanowski are moved to organize a 20-year reunion. As Lai Fun deals with the challenges of her self-appointed task, her same-sex marriage is falling apart as she has an affair with Stefanja's husband. Adding to Lai Fun's problems, her mother is an immigrant vampire vegetarian who cares only for her daughter's happiness. Venous Hum has been described as 'a funny, insightful, sexy, intelligent horror novel with memorable characters that never takes itself too seriously.' [4] The novel was published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Monoceros (2011)Edit

Monoceros was Mayr's fourth published novel. Its story revolves around the suicide of a 17-year-old bullying victim and the effect it has on the people who were directly and indirectly involved in his life. Monoceros was published by Coach House Books.[5] The book was inspired in part by a real-life incident of anti-gay bullying at the high school where Mayr's partner was teaching.[6]

Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall (2017)Edit

Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall is a satirical take on university politics as seen through the eyes of a young and optimistic English professor.[7]


Boundless Alberta (1993)Edit

"Scalps2 was Mayr's first story to be included in an anthology. Boundless Alberta was edited by Aritha Van Herk and published by NeWest Pres.[8]

Eye Wuz Here (1996)Edit

Mayr's "Glass Anatomy2 is included in this collection of stories by women writers under the age of 30. Eye Wuz Here was published by Douglas & McIntyre.[9]

Threshold (1999)Edit

Mayr's story "Toot Suite Matricia" is included in this collection of literary stories by Albertan authors. Threshold was published by the University of Alberta Press.[10]

And Other Stories (2001)Edit

Mayr's story "Nipple Gospel" is included in this anthology of stories by Canadian authors written in a postmodern style. And Other Stories was edited by George Bowering and published by Talonbooks.[11]

Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction (2004)Edit

Published by Broadview Press and edited by Mayr and Julia Gaunce, this anthology includes 26 stories and spans from the 19th to 21st century. The stories are organized chronologically and contain annotations for student readers.[12]

So Long Been Dreaming (2004)Edit

Mayr's short story "Toot Sweet Matricia" is included in an anthology for the second time.[13] So Long Been Dreaming, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, contains science fiction and fantasy stories by authors of Aboriginal, African or Asian descent and was published by Arsenal Pulp Press.


Zebra Talk (1991)Edit

Published by disOrientation chapbooks, Zebra Talk is a collection of poems in chapbook form dealing with the marginalization of both mixed race and homosexual peoples.[14]

Tale (2001)Edit

Published by Stride Gallery, Tale is a collection of illustrated poems (illustrations by Geoff Hunter) referencing the personal experiences of both Mayr and Hunter.[15] The collection explores relationships, sexuality and love.


Mayr's first published novel, Moon Honey, was nominated for two Alberta Literary Awards: the Georges Bugnet Award for Best Novel and the Henry Kreisel Award for Best First book.[16] The Widows, Mayr's second novel, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best book in the Canadian-Caribbean region. Mayr's fourth novel, Monoceros, won the Relit and W. O. Mitchell Awards. It was also nominated for a Ferro-Grumley Award, and longlisted for a Scotiabank Giller Award.


Mayr is a past president of the Writers' Guild of Alberta.[17] In 2010, she served on the jury for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, a literary award for emerging LGBT writers in Canada, selecting Nancy Jo Cullen as that year's prize winner.[18]


  1. ^ "Suzette Mayr." University of Calgary.
  2. ^ a b c Kamboureli, Smaro. Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literatures in English. Don Mills: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
  3. ^ a b Stallworthy, Bob. "In Silhouette: Profiles of Alberta Writers Archived 2011-10-04 at the Wayback Machine", p. 109. Frontenac House. March 2009.
  4. ^ Parke, Darren. "One Touch of Venus Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine." Vue Weekly. 27 October 2004.
  5. ^ "Monoceros." Coach House Books, 2011.
  6. ^ "Ten Questions, with Suzette Mayr" Archived 26 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Open Book Toronto, 17 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Dr. Edith Vane an underdog in the ivory tower". The Toronto Star. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Suzette Mayr - Representative Publications." University of Calgary.
  9. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Glass Anatomy." Eye Wuz Here. Ed. Shannon Cooley. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1996. Print.
  10. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Toot Suite Matricia." Threshold: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing from Alberta. Ed. Srdja Pavlovic. Edmonton, Alberta: University of Alberta, 1999. 113. Print.
  11. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Nipple Gospel." And Other Stories. Ed. George Bowering. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2001. Print.
  12. ^ "The Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine", Broadview Press.
  13. ^ Mayr, Suzette. "Toot Suite Matricia." Uppinder Mehan and Nalo Hopkinson (eds), So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp, 2004. Print.
  14. ^ Petersen, Katie. "Defying Categorization: The Work of Suzette Mayr", Canadian Women Studies 23.2.
  15. ^ "Tale." Stride Art Gallery Association.
  16. ^ "Alberta Literary Competition Finalists Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Writers Guild of Alberta.
  17. ^ "WGA Board of Directors Archive". WGA website. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Writer Nancy Jo Cullen is a rising talent". Xtra!, 9 September 2010.

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