Watson, Sheila

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Watson, Sheila

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1909-1998

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Sheila Martin Watson (nee Doherty) was an author, teacher and professor of English, living between 1909 and 1998. Born in New Westminster, British Columbia on October 25 1909, Sheila was the second child of Dr. Charles Edward Doherty and Mary Ida Elwena Martin. Sheila attended St. Ann's Academy in Victoria, B.C. for her elementary and secondary schooling and attended the University of British Columbia, earning a B.A. Honours in English in 1931 and her Academic Teaching Certificate in 1932. In 1933 she received her M.A. in English, her thesis concerning Addison and Steele, editors of the eighteenth-century periodical "The Spectator." Watson would go on to teach in Dog Creek (1934-1935) in Cariboo Country and Langley Prairie High School (1936-1940) in the Fraser Valley and in Duncan on Vancouver Island from 1940-1941, where she met and married the poet and dramatist Wilfred Watson.Marrying December 29, 1941, Sheila remained in Mission City, in the Fraser Valley, where she taught from September 1941 to the spring of 1945. Wilfred remained in Vancouver, completing his undergraduate degree in 1943. Following World War II, the couple settled in Toronto, where Wilfred pursued his M.A. in English at the University of Toronto, while Sheila taught at Moulton Ladies College (1946-1949). The Watsons remained in Toronto from 1945-1948/49. From 1949-1951, Sheila taught at the University of British Columbia, and for the academic year of 1951/52 she taught at a public high school in Powell River, BC. Watson lived with her husband in Calgary from 1952-54, after which they briefly separated but then spent a year in Paris on a Royal Society of Canada fellowship between 1955-1956.Sheila returned to Toronto from September 1956 to August 1961 to pursue her Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, supervised by Marshall McLuhan. Her thesis was titled "Wyndham Lewis and Expressionism." Sheila went on to teach at the University of Alberta as a Professor of English, teaching from 1961 to her retirement in August, 1975. From the early 1970s, Watson was a member of several juries of The Canada Council for arts grants and the Governor General's Awards for poetry and fiction. She and her husband moved to Nanaimo, B.C. in 1980, where she continued to advise former students and aspiring writers, and occasionally giving public readings of her work. She died Sunday, February 1, 1998. Watson is best known for her novel "The Double Hook", published in 1959, her series of short stories based around the character of Oedipus and her novel "Deep Hollow Creek", which was written in the 1930s but was not published until 1992, when it was nominated for a Governor General's Award for best new fiction. Watson was also co-founder of the literary journal "White Pelican."

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