Aritha van Herk Biography
(1954– ), Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address, Places Far From Ellesmere, A Frozen Tongue
Canadian novelist, born in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, educated at the University of Alberta; she teaches at the University of Calgary. The geography and landscapes of northern and western Canada from the background of her uncompromisingly feminist narratives of women's quests for autonomous identities. In her first novel Judith (1978), the protagonist leaves her urban background to re-define herself on a remote farm in Alberta. The heroine of The Tent Peg (1981) is the only woman on a mining expedition to the Yukon, whose inhospitable terrain becomes a proving ground for her values. No Fixed Address (1986) recounts the extensive journeying of a travelling saleswoman whose sense of personal integrity is inseparable from her actively independent sexuality. Van Herk's more recent work in Places Far From Ellesmere (1990), A Frozen Tongue (1991), and In Visible Ink (1991) are remarkable post-modernist fusions of literary criticism, topographical writing, and imaginative and autobiographical material.