Myrtis Theresa ("Jean") Dohaney (teacher and writer) was born in the small coastal community of Point Verde, Newfoundland. She moved to Fredericton in 1954 with her husband Walter, from New Brunswick, so that he could enter the University of New Brunswick’s engineering program. Dohaney also attended UNB, where she earned a BA in English Literature. She went on to complete an MA and PhD from the University of Maine and Boston University, respectively.
Dohaney began to take writing seriously while her husband was completing an advanced degree in engineering at the University of British Columbia. It was there that she published her debut article in the Catholic magazine Annals of Saint Anne de Beaupre. Initially, her writing offered some respite from her role as a housewife and mother of two young children.
Dohaney has since published six novels, her first being The Corrigan Women (1988) and most recent being The Flannigans: A Novel (2007). Her 2002 memoir When Things Get Back to Normal is a poignant reminiscence of the passing of her husband. She has also had numerous short stories published in various magazines over the years and has received several awards, including the 1995 Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. In 2000 she became involved with the Atlantic Film Festival. As a result, her story-turned-film “Come Back Paddy Riley” debuted at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Dohaney’s work stands out for its ability to leaven serious issues with humour. She even manages to find humour in death, refusing to treat it with solemnity. Critics have attributed this attitude to her early life in Newfoundland, where hardship was overcome with laughter. Even today, after years away from her Newfoundland home, a faint Newfoundland accent is detectable in her voice.
Dohaney has spent most of her adult life in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She spent several years teaching in the New Brunswick public school system, later teaching technical writing and literature at the University of New Brunswick. She continues to write full time from her home in Fredericton.
Brittany Black, Winter 2008
St. Thomas University
Bibliography of Primary Sources
Dohaney, M.T. The Corrigan Women. Charlottetown, PE: Ragweed Press, 1988.
---. A Fit Month for Dying. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2000.
---. The Flannigans: A Novel. St. John’s, NL: Pennywell Books, 2007.
---. A Marriage of Masks. Charlottetown, PE: Ragweed Press, 1995.
---. To Scatter Stones. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2005.
---. When Things Get Back to Normal. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2002.
Bibliography of Secondary Sources
Bauer, Nancy. “To Write Comically Is a Rare Gift.” The Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, NB] 6 Oct. 2007: H2.
Curtis, Herb. “Saint Jean.” Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, NB] 21 Feb. 1998: News.
Dykeman, Daphne. “The Loves and Losses of One Family in Newfoundland: Central Character in The Corrigan Women Perseveres With Calm Courage.” Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, NB] 16 Apr. 2005: Life.
Forbes, Alexander M. “Passages − To Scatter Stones.” Canadian Literature 146.2 (1995): 162.
Klager, Bob. “N.B. Scripts Have Strong Showing: Two Stories Chosen for Atlantic Festival's Script Development Project.” Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, NB] 13 July 2000: News.
Lynes, Jeanette. “Home at the Edge of the Grave: M.T. Dohaney's Ambivalent Aesthetic.” River Review: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Arts and Ideas 1 (1995): 91-109.
“M.T. Jean Dohaney: Fredericton Novelist Says She Started to Write Because She Was Alone in Vancouver with Her Small Children and Needed to Fill the Empty Spaces.” Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, NB] 30 Aug. 2008: G2.
“Q & A with M.T. Dohaney.” Flanker Press website. 13 Nov. 2008
Rutherford, Kate. “Too Little Rings True in Nfld. Melodrama.” Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, NB] 6 Jan. 2001: Life.