Fonds MsC-40 - Caroline Adderson fonds

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Caroline Adderson fonds

General material designation

  • Textual records
  • Photographic materials

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the fonds.

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Dates of creation area


  • 1986 (Creation)
    Adderson, Caroline

Physical description area

Physical description

Includes 3 book jackets, 3 bookmarks, 1 bound musical score, 1 brochure, 5 business cards, 4 certificates, 2 CD-Rs, 9 drawings, 1 floppy disk, 3 guide books, 6 invitations, 45 magazines/serials/monographs, 3 maps, 1 name badge, 115 negatives, 2 newspapers, 85 newspaper clippings, 87 note cards, 7 notebooks, 1 package of seeds, 15 pamphlets, 92 photographs, 43 post cards, 3 posters, 11 programmes, 2 reference guides, 3 VHS cassettes, 2 zines.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Caroline Adderson was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1963. After finishing high school, she entered Katimavik, a Canadian youth volunteer-service program, and travelled across Canada, partaking in such activities as working on a sheep farm and building log cabins on a reservation. Adderson completed an education degree at UBC in 1986, and a year later she settled in Vancouver and started teaching ESL. She has spent most of her adult life in Vancouver, B.C., but has also lived for brief periods in New Orleans and Toronto. Her first book of short fiction, Bad Imaginings (1993) won the 1994 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, was shortlisted for the 1993 Governor Generals Award and Commonwealth Book Prize, and in audio format the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) Talking Book of the Year. These stories have since appeared in many anthologies and have been broadcast and adapted for radio.
Her first novel, A History of Forgetting (1999) was nominated for the 2000 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the 2000 Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize.
Her second novel, Sitting Practice (2003) was shortlisted for the VanCity Book Prize for best book pertaining to women's issues by a B.C. author as well as the City of Vancouver Book Award. It won the 2004 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.
Her works of fiction and non-fiction have been widely published in literary magazines and newspapers. One story, "Oil and Dread", was selected by the Journey Prize Anthology 5. She has three times won prizes in the CBC literary competition. She has had radio plays broadcast on CBC Radio's Morningside and Sunday Showcase, amongst other radio broadcasts.
Her feature-length screenplay Tokyo Cowboy (1994) was the co-winner of the Federal Express Award for Most Popular Canadian Film at the 1994 Vancouver International Film Festival.
Adderson's recent publication Pleased to Meet You (2006), a collection of short fiction, was longlisted for the Giller Prize.
Some of the themes Adderson poignantly illuminates in her work include the endurement of grief and pain in different forms and contexts, the construction and power of memory and its connection to history and freedom, essences, physical movement through time and space, interconnectedness, sexuality, love, and longing.
She is married to film director Bruce Sweeney, and has one son, Patrick.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The collection consists of materials that relate to Caroline Adderson's work as a writer. Types of materials include: versions of drafts of manuscripts, many with holograph annotations; incoming and outgoing correspondence in the form of handwritten and typewritten letters, and hard copies of email and fax; research relating to her work including collected works by other writers; notes that relate to and inform her literary work; promotional, personal, and research-related photographs; reviews of her work; and a collection of published work in monograph and serial format. These monographs and serials have been catalogued in SFU's Special Collections catalogue. Materials were accessioned in varying states of organization. Much of the material was and remains intermingled, and some had been organized and described by Adderson. Some folders have been written upon by the author, accompanied with explanations of the contents of the corresponding files. In this finding aid, RAD applies consistency to the body of material, but the descriptive contents within the actual folders are not consistent for this reason. All information Adderson has provided about her records has been kept with the appropriate papers.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The materials were acquired by SFU Special Collections and Rare Books from Caroline Adderson in one accession in 2004. Additional materials were acquired in 2009. Further accruals are expected.


The files are arranged physically by accession, according to Adderson’s arrangement of the records. All possible efforts to keep the connections between materials have been made, and most files have been kept intact. In circumstances where it has been deemed beneficial to rearrange materials according to chronology within a file or separate a file that is far too large into components, a note explaining the changes has been provided in the file-level description. Materials have been arranged intellectually into 4 series: Correspondence, Caroline Adderson’s Literary Works, Published Materials, and Miscellaneous. Caroline Adderson’s Literary Works has been divided into 2 subseries: Manuscripts of Literary Works and Literary Activities. Published Materials has been divided into 2 subseries: Publications by Adderson and Publications about Adderson. The Miscellaneous series contains many of the photographs in the collection. The locations of photographs that are not a part of this series are provided at file-level descriptions and in the Note field in the description of the Miscellaneous series. Because of the attempt to retain original order, materials that correspond to more than one series may be found in the same file.

Language of material

  • English

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Alpha-numeric designations

BCAUL control number: SFL--2302

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created May 13, 2014, LZ

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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