An exemplary work of literary biography.

Toronto Star

A rich and intense view of Canada’s top literary star.

The Globe and Mail

Crafted with skill and flair.

The Financial Post
The Road Shoes

Harper Collins, 1998. Paperback, 1999; Bokförlaget Prisma Press, Stockholm, 2000; Unutulmayan Kadinlar, Turkey, 2013.

In the 1940s film The Red Shoes, a beautiful ballerina commits suicide when her life forces her to choose between art and love. Margaret Atwood remembers being devastated by this movie as a young girl, but unlike many of her contemporaries, she came to reject its underlying message. How did Atwood, in those pre-feminist days, find courage and confidence to believe in herself? In The Red Shoes, award-winning biographer and poet Rosemary Sullivan explores the unfolding of a remarkable writer’s career. She focuses on Atwood’s formative years through to the late 1970s when the major elements of Atwood’s life—the publication of Surfacing, Power Politics, and The Edible Woman, the relationship with writer Graeme Gibson, the birth of a daughter, the focus on Canadian culture—are set in place. A stunning blend of narrative and meditation, of discovery and insight, The Red Shoes is a major portrait of one of Canada’s most provocative writers. The Red Shoes has been a national best seller.

Critical Praise for The Red Shoes

“An exemplary work of literary biography.”
TORONTO STAR

“A rich and intense view of Canada’s top literary star.”
THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“Crafted with skill and flair.”
THE FINANCIAL POST

“An inspired and inspiring book.”
QUILL & QUIRE

“This sympathetic portrait of Atwood is carefully constructed, beautifully written, and hard to put down.”
GEORGIA STRAIGHT (VANCOUVER)

“Sullivan’s book contains descriptions of encounters and anecdotes that are not only delightfully gossipy but also highly illuminating…. What Sullivan has also done, in this meticulously researched and documented book, is to frame the biographical narrative with perceptive, quasi-sociological vignettes of the Zeitgeist that characterized Canadian life from the 1940s to the 1970s.”
BOOKS IN REVIEW