Watson, Sheila (1909–1998) By Millar Usiskin, Jana
Canadian writer Sheila Watson (1909–1998) is best known for her modernist novel The Double Hook (1959) about the redemptive struggles of a small, rural community as they deal with the murder of one of their members. Born Sheila Martin Doherty in New Westminster, BC, Watson received her BA, (Hons) in English (1931) and MA (1933) from the University of British Columbia. She taught elementary students in a number of rural schools in British Columbia before marrying Wilfred Watson in 1941. She then continued to teach in Toronto, in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia, and in Powell River, BC While living in Calgary during 1951–52, Watson completed The Double Hook, which was published to mixed reviews. After its publication, Watson began her PhD under he guidance of Marshall McLuhan at the University of Toronto and completed her dissertation Wyndham Lewis: Post Expressionist at the University of Alberta in 1961. While working as a professor at the University of Alberta, Watson continued to write and publish. She maintained correspondence with several Canadian scholars and writers, including Michael Ondaatje, George Bowering, and Daphne Marlatt. After her retirement in 1980, Sheila and her husband moved to Nanaimo, BC, where they died in 1998.