Award-winning author Merle Massie brings to the page the life and career of Sylvia Fedoruk (1927-2012), which encompassed some of the most ground-breaking scientific, athletic and public transformations of the twentieth century. A pioneer in leading-edge cancer research, primarily in the field of nuclear medicine, she was the first woman to join the Atomic Energy Board of Canada. Sylvia was an outstanding athlete, competing at an elite level in women’s softball and curling. Elected as the first woman chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan, she went on to be the first woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, coaching two premiers through potential legislative and constitutional crises. With support from the University, the provincial government and the media, she withstood a major outing controversy, revealing a particular provincial touchpoint around issues of homosexuality, artistic activism, and power dynamics in the midst of the AIDS crisis of the 1990s. Known for a warm but no-nonsense style, Sylvia Fedoruk built a legacy which drew Saskatchewan’s north into the provincial consciousness, advocated for equal education for all, pushed for support for women in science, technology, engineering, and math, and worked tirelessly as the University of Saskatchewan and the province’s most vocal cheerleader.
Winner, Saskatchewan Book Award, University of Saskatchewan Nonfiction Award, 2021
“Merle Massie is an excellent storyteller, and what a story this is—of Sylvia Fedoruk—academic, physicist, inventor, athlete, Chancellor, Lieutenant-Governor, role model and a friend to many. This biography is a page turner, and I didn’t want the story to end! Merle has captured the true essence of the full life of Sylvia covering both the public and private life of a Saskatchewan leader with humour, insight and sensitivity. ” —The Honourable Gordon Barnhart, OC SOM, 20th Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan
“Merle Massie has given us a remarkable biography of a remarkable woman. Sylvia Fedoruk’s outstanding, and in many respects trailblazing, career in medical science, sports, and public service deserved the best. She got it. ” —John Courtney, Senior Policy Fellow, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
“A Radiant Life is an important, well-researched story of the fascinating well-lived journey of one of Saskatchewan’s most accomplished citizens. ” —Vera Pezer, former Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan, inductee in the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame, Saskatchewan Centennial Medal recipient
“A powerful story. ..A very important history about a very important Canadian. ” —The Honourable Roy Romanow, former Premier of Saskatchewan