Myrna Kostash

Myrna Kostash, writer, journalist, translator (b at Edmonton 2 Sept 1944). Born and raised in Edmonton, Alta, Myrna Kostash studied at the Universities of Alberta and Washington and received her BA from the University of Alberta in 1965. She holds an MA degree in Russian Language and Literature (1968) from the University of Toronto. Much of Kostash's writing is connected to her identity as a third-generation Ukrainian Canadian, a prairie-dweller, a New Leftist socialist, and a feminist.

Kostash's articles and columns have appeared in numerous magazines (including Saturday Night, Chatelaine, Maclean's, Canadian Geographic) and newspapers (Globe and Mail, Ottawa Sunday Citizen). Her short fiction and creative non-fiction have been widely published in Canadian and Eastern European literary periodicals (Brick, Border Crossings, Descant, Stozher, Mostovi) and in anthologies (Wrestling with the Angel : Women Reclaiming Their Lives, 2000, The Vintage Book of Canadian Memoirs, 2001, AWOL: Tales for Travel-Inspired Minds, 2003). Kostash has written for stage (After the Fall: The Erotic Life of the Left, 1992) and television (Where is Rosa? 1985), and her work has been broadcast on CBC radio's Morningside, Saturday Stereo Theatre, and Ideas. In 1992, she translated Solomea Pavlychko's Letters from Kiev from Ukrainian into English.

With her first book Kostash became a prominent voice in public debates about ethnicity. All of Baba's Children (1977) documents the history of Two Hills, Alta (a Ukrainian Canadian community northeast of Edmonton). Long Way From Home: The Story of the Sixties Generation in Canada (1980) foregrounds her career-long interest in counter-cultural movements, and No Kidding: Inside the World of Teenage Girls (1987) reflects her feminist politics. In Bloodlines: A Journey Into Eastern Europe (1993) and The Doomed Bridegroom: A Memoir (1998), Kostash explores her enduring fascination with the politics, histories, and peoples of Central and Eastern Europe. The Next Canada: In Search of the Future Nation (2000) grows out of Kostash's interest in Canadian nationalist politics. Reading the River: A Traveller's Companion to the North Saskatchewan (2005) focuses on her regional sensibilities as a western Canadian writer.

The Next Canada was a finalist for the Writers' Trust of Canada's Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Kostash has twice won the Alberta Culture and Writers' Guild of Alberta prize for Best Non-Fiction (for No Kidding and Bloodlines). She has also received the Alberta Achievement Award (1988), the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts' "Excellence in Artistry" Award (2001), the Canadian Conference of the Arts Honourary Life Member Award (2002), the Queen's Jubilee Award (2002), and the Alberta Centennial Medal (2005).

Active in the Canadian literary community, Kostash was a founding member of the Periodical Writers' Association of Canada. She served as president of the Writers' Guild of Alberta (1989-90) and as chair of the Writers' Union of Canada (1993-94). From 1996 to 2000, she represented Alberta on the Board of Governors of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. Kostash was Writer-in-Residence at the Regina Public Library (1996-97), the Saskatoon Public Library (2002-03), and the University of Alberta (2003-04). She lectures across North America and Europe, and she has taught creative writing in Minneapolis, Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, Toronto, and Vancouver.