Angela Abdou, writer (born 11 May 1969 in Moose Jaw, SK). Angie Abdou earned a PhD in English literature and creative writing from the University of Calgary, following degrees from the University of Regina and University of Western Ontario.
Abdou's debut work, Anything Boys Can Do (2006) is a collection of short fiction in which young, educated women who have grown up with feminism's first victories (see Women's Movement) remain emotionally stalled in old roles, accepting demeaning discourse used by men and refusing to challenge its controlling intent. In the story "East Meets West" Weezie, who is playing den mother to her brother's vacationing pals, drives them to a bar. She believes one is attracted to her until he asks her to play along in making a woman at the bar jealous: "I obediently stick to my script and do just what he expects me to do: I nod, I smile, I laugh, and I look generally enamoured with him. As soon as he begins a conversation with the blonde... I leave. No one will notice." Abdou presents women who do not notice how their ongoing tolerance of stale standards means "boys" who can do better won't. With these characterizations Abdou suggests that such passivity means women and men will remain trapped in a stagnating world of dated values.
Angie Abdou's first novel, The Bone Cage (2007), was a finalist in the 2011 CBC Canada Reads contest. Inspired by Canadian athletes' struggles with severe post-Olympic depression, Abdou's two athletes, speed swimmer Sadie and wrestler Digger, have submerged their identities in the pursuit of Olympic glory and grapple with the vacuum that exists when the golden dream ends. Abdou shows us how "traumatic is the end of a dream" when parents, partners, coaches and entire nations long conspire against recognizing the reality that inevitably will follow. The Bone Cage was ranked first on CBC's list of Top Ten Sports Books in 2010, and was named the MacEwan Book of the Year for 2012 by Grant MacEwan University.
The Canterbury Trail (2011), Abdou's second novel, is darkly comic, presenting Chaucerian characters who meet on a contemporary pilgrimage in western Canada. The trails they walk (see Hiking) originate with Heinz, a retired academic escaped from the city, who hopes to become a hermit novelist. Failing that, he decides to be an explorer on his own land, marking, with creative medieval signage, the walkways to his mountaintop: "Eventually he began marking his routes - more to leave evidence of his existence than to save himself from getting lost. By then he knew the way - all the ways - but naming a certain incline or a particular creek-crossing gave him an inexplicable satisfaction... he named the land." This naming process becomes Heinz's narrative, which he shares, albeit grudgingly, with others. For Abdou, every pilgrimage is about stories: those told to pass the miles and those told about the miles passed, each proving the value of a storyteller's voice and presence. The Canterbury Trail was a finalist for the 2011 Banff Mountain Book Competition (Mountain and Wilderness Literature).
Angie Abdou cannot imagine life without literature or books: "Literature creates a space in which to examine contemporary life and in that way it is everything." She is a full-time member of the teaching faculty of the College of the Rockies, while regularly conducting writing workshops during the annual Fernie Writers' Conference. She lives in Fernie, BC.