Sarah Taggart

Sarah wrote a madness novel and proposed a 'mad' reading of two iconic Janet Frame works.

PhD awarded 2024

PhD candidate Sarah Taggart. (Photo by Ebony Lamb.)

Sarah's short stories have appeared in Canadian literary magazines. She holds a BFA from the University of Victoria (in Victoria, Canada) and an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. She has also worked in book, literary journal, magazine and newspaper publishing.

Sarah's debut novel, a madness narrative entitled Pacifique (Coach House Books), was published in 2022.

Sarah writes:  'The creative part of my project was a madness novel titled "Reunion Island". The novel helped me to conceptualise the scholarly component of my work by asking how a writer with lived experience of madness authors a mad story.

'My critical research, informed by the burgeoning field of mad studies, explored—and sought to rectify—sanism in the scholarship on Janet Frame. My scholarly work was situated at the intersection of mad studies and literary studies. Mad studies foregrounds the lived experience of psychiatrisation and madness. I trained a mad studies lens on well-studied Janet Frame works—specifically the madness narratives Faces in the Water and An Autobiography—and asked: what new insights can we gain by approaching these mad narratives from a theoretical perspective that not only acknowledges but privileges the author's lived experience of (forced) psychiatrisation? Does this approach allow us to counter the sanism that exists in the current scholarship on Janet Frame? And lastly, how might this mad reading complicate claims that language cannot capture madness and the mad experience?'

Read more:

Sarah's website

Coach House Books: Pacifique

Sarah's interview with Open Book Ontario