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Baird, Irene (1901–1981) By Dean, Misao

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM984-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 18 March 2018, from


Canadian novelist and civil servant Irene Baird is best known for her second novel, Waste Heritage (1939), which was based on firsthand research into the Vancouver “sit down strike” of the unemployed in 1938. Waste Heritage was remarkable in its time for its use of colloquial idioms, its realist representation of the lives of the unemployed, and its naturalist approach to sexuality and violence. Often cited as the best Canadian novel of the Depression era, Waste Heritage was nonetheless a financial failure for Baird, and she sought a more reliable source of income writing promotional material and lecturing for the National Film Board during World War II, spending the balance of her career as a civil servant based in Ottawa.

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Citing this article:

Dean, Misao. "Baird, Irene (1901–1981)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 18 Mar. 2018 doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM984-1

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