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Athabasca University

Henry Kreisel

Photo of Henry Kreisel

Henry Kreisel was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1922. He published his first story when he was 15 years old. In 1938 he fled from the Anschluss to England where, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he was arrested as an "enemy alien." He was interned in Canada in 1940, an experience vividly recorded in the "Diary of an Internment Camp." Nevertheless, Kreisel had decided that English, which he had used for only two years, was the language in which he would write. As a result of writings done in the camp he was sponsored as a student at the University of Toronto. In 1947 he obtained his M.A. in English and joined the faculty of the University of Alberta as a lecturer in English. In 1954 he earned a Ph.D. from the University of London. He later held positions of Chair of English, Vice President Academic and University Professor at the U. of A. Before retiring in 1987 he taught in the Comparative Literature program where he was a very popular professor with students.

Kreisel has published two novels, The Rich Man (1947) and The Betrayal (1964). In 1965 CBC TV produced The Betrayal as a play. His short stories have been widely anthologized and were collected in The Almost Meeting (1981), winner of the J. I. Segal Foundation Award for Literature in English. "The Travelling Nude" was awarded the President’s Medal of the University of Western Ontario. Among his many academic achievements is the establishment of the first Canadian literature program at the University of Alberta. Henry Kreisel was married with one son and died in Edmonton on April 22, 1991.

In 1985 his autobiographical writings were combined with critical essays on his work in Another Country: Writing By and About Henry Kreisel, edited by S. Neuman (NeWest Press).

Updated February 12 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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