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Curriculum Vitae


George Herbert Szanto

Professor Emeritus, Graduate Communications
McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

1605 Chernoff Drive
Gabriola, BC V0R 1X6, Canada

TELEPHONE: (250) 247-8113
FAX: (250) 247-8113
E-MAIL: gszanto [at] aol [dot] com


Fiction and published plays

Double vue. Montreal: XYZ éditeur (working title, French edition of Second Sight, François Barcelo, trans.), 2005.

Second Sight: Montreal: XYZ éditeur (part II of The Conquests of Mexico trilogy), 2004.

La Condesa María Victoria (French edition of The Condesa of M, François Barcelo, trans.), Montréal: XYZ éditeur, 2003.

The Condesa of M. Toronto: Comorant/Stoddart, 2001 (part III of The Conquests of Mexico trilogy)

La Faccia nascosta delle pietre (Italian edition of The Underside of Stones, Maria Luisa Longo, trans.), Rome: Vecchiarelli Editore, 1999.

La face cachée des pierres (French edition of The Underside of Stones, François Barcelo, trans), Montréal: XYZ éditeur, 1997.

Friends & Marriages, Montreal: Véhicule, 1994.

The Underside of Stones (part I of The Conquests of Mexico trilogy). Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1990; New York: Harper and Row (A Cornelia and Michael Bessie Book), 1990; Montreal: XYZ éditeur, 2005.

Duets (stories; with Per Brask). Saskatoon: Coteau Books, 1989.

The Great Chinchilla War (play; with Milton Savage). Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 1983.

Not Working (novel). New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982; Toronto: Macmillan, 1983; Toronto: Avon, 1984.

The New Black Crook (play). Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 1981.

The Next Move (play). Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 1981.

After the Ceremony (play). Toronto: Playwrights Co-op Press, 1978.

Sixteen Ways to Skin a Cat (stories). Vancouver: Intermedia, 1978.

Essays and criticism

Inside the Statues of Saints: Mexican Writers Talk About Culture and Corruption, Politics and Daily Life. Montreal: Véhicule, 1996.

A MODEST PROPOSITION to the People of Canada. Montreal: Véhicule (An X/Press Book), 1991.

Narrative Taste and Social Perspective: The Matter of Quality. London: MacMillan 1987; and New York: St. Martins, 1987.

Theater and Propaganda. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1978.

Narrative Consciousness. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1972

Short Stories

Fifty-plus over the last thirty years, including, most recently:

“A Family Wedding,” Descant, Fall 1997.

“Best of Friends,” Future Tense: New Fiction from Quebec, Montreal: Véhicule, 1997

“Three Little Pieces,” Friendly Erotica: A Question of Boundaries, Gabriola: Martin Park Communications, 1995.

“The Spider and Daniel Ortega,” Witness to Wilderness: The Clayoquot Sound Anthology, Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1994

“Skunk,” Canadian Fiction Magazine, Summer 1994.

“Away Away,” Grain, Winter 1994.

“Cottage,” Descant Winter Reader, Winter 1994.

“A Temporary Death,” Canadian Fiction Magazine, Summer 1993.

“Keys,” Malahat Review, December 1992.

“The Sweeper,” The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, 4th edition (N.Y.: St. Martin’s, 1992) Rpt. from The Underside of Stones.

“Skull,” Matrix, September, 1989.

“Salome,” Canadian Fiction Magazine, Summer 1988. Rpt. in Telling Differences: New English Fiction From Quebec, Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1989.

“The Year The Leaves Were Smaller,” Boston Magazine, December, 1987.

“How Ali Cran Got His Name,” This Magazine, December 1987. Rpt. in Compañeros, Dunvegan, Ont.: Cormorant, 1991, 7-13.

“Sense,” Descant, Summer 1986.

“For the Grace,” Descant, Winter 1986. (rpt. in Iron, Winter 1988).

Essays and Articles

Sixty-plus over thirty years, of which the following have been the most central to the evolution of my work:

“Salvador, Candomblé, Coincidence.” Queens Quarterly, spirng, 2002

“A narrativa e o contexto social da crítica.” Textos de cultura e comunicação (Brazil), 2003.

“Civil Societies.” Brick, 54, spring 1996, 13-22.

“How not to go to Brazil.” Stitches, fall 1996.

“Conversation with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 30, 1994.” American Dream, 1930-1995, ed. J.F. Côté, N. Khoury, D. Michaud. Ottawa: U. of Ottawa, 1996.

“Mediation by Place: Juan Rulfo’s ‘Macario’ and Hugh Garner’s ‘The Yellow Sweater.'” Proceedings of the XIIth Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association, München: Iudicium, 1990, II, 71-76.

“The Nostalgic Silliness of Tragedy,” Tragique et Tragedie dans la tradition occidentale, Montréal: Déterminations, 1983, 219-234.

“Geography, Private Property and the Western Novel,” Canadian Comparative Literature Review, X, No. 2, June, 1983, 167-181.

“Fictions, Societies, and Laws of Equal and Unequal Development,” Proceedings of IXth Congress of I.C.L.A., Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft, Sonderheft 53, 1982, 283-290.

“Paraliterary Quality,” Culture and Context, Winter/Spring, 1980.

“The 30% Margin: Jack Webb’s UFO’s,” Cultural Correspondence, 1978, No. 8, Fall/Winter.

“Alternative Way-Signs: Some Passages Within John Berger’s History-Making, History-Unravelling Experiment,” College English, January, 1979.

“Positivism, Negational Aesthetics, and Literary Evaluation,” Neohelicon, IV, 3-4, 111-136.

“On the Political Rhetoric of our Narrative Tastes,” Massachussets Review, Spring 1977, 35-49.

“Comparative Diachronics,” Proceedings of the VIIth Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association, 1977.

“Samuel Beckett: Dramatic Possibilities in an Age of Technological Retention,” Massachussetts Review, Winter 1974, 735-761.

“The Phenomenological Novel,” The Intellectual (Taipei, Taiwan), August, 1971, 63-66. (Chinese translation of Texas Quarterly article).

“The Dramatic Process,” Bucknell Review, Winter 1971, 3-31.

“Towards an Aesthetic for Radical Theatre,” Kansas Quarterly, special issue on theatre, Spring 1971, 21-31.

“The Internalized Reality of Robbe-Grillet,” Critique, XI No.1, 28-42.

“The Phenomenological Novel: A Third Way in Modern Fiction,” Texas Quarterly, Winter, 1968, 119-126.

Conference Papers, Colloquia, and Lectures

Several dozen in the last thirty years, including seven colloquia in the Federal Republic of Germany on Canadian Drama (Cologne, Hamburg, Kiel, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt) October – November 1983. Among the others, the most important are:

“Truth and Storytelling,” University College of the Cariboo, Department of Communications and Jouralism, Kamloops, B.C., February 2001.

“On Contemporary Canadian Literature.” Université Blaise Pascal, Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines, Clermont-Ferrand, France. February, 1998

“Cultural Analysis, Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Imperialism.” Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, December 6, 1996, Guadalajara, Mexico.

“The Corrupt Guts of a City: A Critical Conversation.” The Sanjay Memorial Lecture of 1996, Indian Institute of Applied Language Sciences, February 21, 1996, Mysore, India.

“Onze razões para subir o Amazonas,” Faculdade de Comunicação, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil, May, 1995.

“New Theatre for Used Hegemonies: Canadian Drama in the 1970’s.” CIMED Conference: Political Discourses, March 15-17, 1985.

“The Uselessness of Tragedy, 1979,” Conference on “Tragedie,” Université de Montréal, October, 1979.

“Fictions, Societies and Laws of Equal and Unequal Development: A Sketch for the Sociology of Literary Comparison,” International Comparative Literature Association, Innsbruck, August 20-24, 1979.

“Marxist Cultural Theory as Method for Literary Production Analysis,” XIV Congress of the Federation Internationale des Langues et Litteratures Modernes, Aix-en-Provence, 28 August – Sept. 2, 1978.

“Social Contexts for Judgements of (Para)literary Quality,” Conference on the State of Paraliterary Studies in Canada, McGill, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 1977.

“The Delimited Reality of Western Novels,” New England MLA, April, 1976.

“National Diachronics, Comparative Synchronics,” British Comparative Literature Association, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, December, 1975.

“Why the Quality of Artworks is a Political Issue, or, When is a Bad Novel Good?,” State University of New York, Binghamton, NY, September, 1975.

“Literature and Contradiction: Demystification and the Marxist Critic,” MLA, New York, December 1974.

“Three Theaters of Propaganda,” Modern Language Association, New York, December, 1974.

“Comparative Diachronics,” International Comparative Literature Association, Montreal, August, 1973.

“The Popular Film as Integration Propaganda,” Rocky Mountain MLA, Tucson, Arizona, October, 1972.


Plays Produced

A MODEST PROPOSITION To the People of Canada concerning the Pervasive Ills and Divisions affliciting the Nation, including but not limited to the Anguish of a Land rent Asunder by heinous Tax Bills, Curtailment of Economic Opportunity, the Plight of the Middle Classes, and Quebec. Prairie Theatre Exchange, Manitoba Association of Playwrights, May, 1991 (featuring Graham Asmore).

Bagman. (radio play). CBC radio, May 1988.

The New Black Crook. Stock ’82, St. John, New Brunswick, July, 1982.

At War with Grierson (radio play). CBC radio, January, 1982.

Mixed Marriage. Saidye Bronfman Centre Theatre, Montreal, January-February, 1981.

The Voices of Canada (radio play). CBC radio, March , 1980.

Moving Experiences. Banff Playwrights Colony, June, 1979.

The New Black Crook. Vanier College Theatre, May, 1979.

After the Ceremony. Actors Studio, New York, March, 1979.

After the Ceremony. Factory Theatre Lab, Toronto, December, 1978.

After the Ceremony. Montreal Playwrights’ Workshop, May,1977.

The New Black Crook. Southeastern Theater Conference, Pensacola, Florida, February-March, 1973.

Chinchilla. Actor’s Quarter, San Diego, California, October-November, 1972.

The New Black Crook. UCSD, La Jolla, California, January, 1972.

The New Black Crook. Southwestern College, San Diego, California, February-March, 1971.

Time and Again. Theatre Company of Boston, April, 1967.

Time and Again. Loeb Drama Center, Experimental Stage, Harvard University October 1966.

The Horrible Assassination of Lester Miserables. As above, April 1965.

A Play and a Half. As above, May, 1963.


Honours, Awards, and Prizes

1997 Finalist, Governor General’s Awards: La Face cachée des pierres, French translation of The Underside of Stones by François Barcelo.

1995 Winner, Hugh MacLennan Award for Fiction, for Friends & Marriages.

1994-5 Bourse de soutien à la pratique artistique, Type “A”, Programme d’Aide aux artistes professionels, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec.

1992-3 Canada Council Senior Arts Grant (“A”) for Fiction Writing.

1990 “Extraordinary Recommendation,” Small Press Competition 1989, the Midwest Book Review, for Duets.

1988-present Fellow, Royal Society of Canada

1988 Winner, Silver Foundation Medal, National Magazine Awards, for “How Ali Cran Got His Name.” (Best short story in an English Canadian magazine, 1987).

1987-9 Canada Council Arts Grant (“B”) for Fiction Writing

1986 Finalist, CBC Literary Competition VIII, for “How Ali Cran Got His Name.”

1983 Finalist, Not Working, “Five Best First Novels of 1983,” Books in Canada, March, 1984

1980 Finalist, The Voices of Canada: Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), best radio play of 1980.

1973 Winner, The New Black Crook, Southeast Theatre Conference’s New Play Project

1972 Narrative Consciousness selected for Scholars Library (Modern Language Association Book Club).

Conference Sessions (devoted to my work)

TEXT ON EDGE, 13th St. John’s Literary Conference, University of Manitoba, March 13-14, 1992. Special session on the collaborative work of George Szanto and Per Brask.

Paper: David Arnason, “The Language of Doubles.”

George Szanto and Per Brask, “On Collaboration.”

Colloquium Participant: “The Future of Collaboration.”

CONVERGENCE ’96, Centre for Cultures, Technologies and the Environment, February 14-18, 1996, Mysore, India. Special session on the Mexican fiction of George Szanto, with emphasis on issues of cultural appropration.


Colloquia and Readings (recent)

March-May 1990. Readings (with colloquia) at: Harvard University; New York University; University of Illinois; The Art Institute of Chicago; Boise State University; University of California, San Diego; California State University, San Diego; University of British Columbia; Vancouver Island Public Library; York University.

–Readings for National Book Week 1990: Toronto, Harbourfront, April 24; The Writer’s Union of Canada, Montreal, April 25.

–Reading at Manhattan Theatre Club/Writers in Performance for New York’s Literary Arts in Mexico series, October 22, 1990.

–Traill College, Trent University, October 1991

–University of Winnipeg, March 1992

–Featured reading, Text on Edge Conference, St. John’s College, University of Manitoba, March 1992

–York University, 1993, 1995.

–Winnipeg (Manitoba) Libraries, October 1992

–John Abbott College (Ste-Anne de Bellevue, Quebec), December 1992, October 1993.

–Bistro 4, Montreal (as a Hugh MacLennan Fiction Award finalist), October 1995.

–Art Talk, CBC Radio, November, 1995.

–Marianoplis College, April 1996.

–Featured reading (with colloquium), Convergence ’96, Centre for Cultures, Technologies and the Envirnment, Mysore, India, February 1996.

–Reading (with colloquium), Centre for Post-Graduate Studies, University of Mysore, Hassan, Karnataka, India

–University of Western Ontario, November, 1996

–Feria Internacional de Libro de Guadalajara, December, 1996 (in Spanish).

–British Columbia Reading Tour, August 1997: Green College, University of British Columbia; Hornby Festival, Hornby Island; Page’s Gallery, Gabriola Island; Mocambo Café Writers’ Series, Victoria; Emily Car Institute of Art, Vancouver.

–Université Blaise Pascal, Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines, Clermont-Ferrand, France. February, 1998, “Le Balayeur” (in French), from La face cacheé des pierres

–WRITE POUR ÉCRIRE, Third Annual Bilingual Reading Festival, Union des écrivaines et écrivains de Québec and The Writers Union of Canada, October, 1998.

–University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, B.C., February, 2001

–Sydney Reading series, Sydney, B.C., March, 2001.

–Harbourfront Reading Series, Toronto, Ont. September, 2001

–Quebec and Ottawa Reading Tour, October, 2001: Carleton University; McGill University; Université de Québec; Vanier College; Dawson College.

–Pan-Canadian Writers Festival, Calgary, Alberta, October, 2001

–Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta, October 2001

–University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, October 2001

–Edmonton Public Library, Edmonton, Alberta, October, 2001

–Canadian Writers Live, York University, Toronto, November, 2001

–York University, Toronto, October, 2001

–Nanaimo Reading Series, Nanaimo, B.C., April, 2002

–Page’s Marina, Gabriola, B.C. September, 2004

-Word on the Street, Vancouver, September, 2004

–University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, September 2004

–Mosaic Books, Calgary, Alberta, September 2004

–Double Hook Books, Montreal, Quebec, November 2004

–Canadian Writers Live, York University, Toronto, Ontario, November 2004

Radio Production

Co-host, interviewer and analyst, “The Voices of Mexico,” for The Arts Tonight, CBC-FM, October 26-27-28, 1993. Interviews with and discussion of the work of Carlos Fuentes, Elena Poniatowska, Juan Villoro, María Luisa Puga, Paco Ignacio Taibo, Margo Glantz.


In Catholic World, Cheetah, Yearbook of English Studies, Journal of Modern Literature, Style, Western Humanities Review, Science Fiction Studies, International Comparative Literature Association Bulletin, Canadian Comparative Literature Review, Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, SubStance, etc.

Formal Education

1967 Ph.D. Harvard University
Comparative Literature:

1965-66 Université d’Aix-en-Provence, France
(Harvard Traveling Fellow)

1962-63 Goethe Universität, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
(Fulbright Fellow)

1962 B.A. Dartmouth College (German & French)


Academic Positions


[April-May 1995]

1994 (Jan-June)





1964-65, 1966-67

Professor Emeritus, McGill University
Professor, Reduced Load, Graduate Communications Program, McGill University
Visiting University Professor, Programa de
Pós-Graduação em
Communicação e Cultura Contemporâneas, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Bahia, Salvador, Brasil
Acting Director, Graduate Communications, McGill University, Montreal
Professor, Reduced Load, Communications and Comparative Literature
Director, Graduate Communications
Professor and Director, Comparative Literature
Associate Professor and Director, Program in Comparative Literature, McGill University, Montreal
Assistant Professor, Dramatic and Comparative Literature, University of California, San Diego
Director, Expository Writing, Harvard Summer School
Teaching Fellow, Harvard University


Literary and Artistic Associations









PEN International (Toronto Center)
Member, Writers in Prison Committee

1989-90: Chairman, Writers in Prison Committee

Chairman, Board of Directors, ISIS (formerly La Compagnie de Danse Jo Lechay)

Chairman, Board of Directors, La Compagnie de danse Jo Lechay

Playwrights Workshop, Montreal
1978-83: Chairman
1983-86: Member, Executive Committee

Playwrights Canada
1979-1980: Quebec Delegate
1980-81: National Chairman

The Guild of Canadian Playwrights
1977: Quebec Delegate and Member, Founding Convention, Calgary

The Writer’s Union of Canada
1977-84, 1989-91: Member, Grievance Committee
1978-79: Quebec Representative to National Council

2003-05: B.C./Yukon representative to National Council

New Heritage Theatre (San Diego), Executive Director