Fetherling was born in West Virginia, United States. He moved to Canada at 18, in 1966. In 1967 he became the 1st employee of House of Anansi Press (Anansi) in Toronto. He published his debut collection of poetry, with Anansi, in 1968.
He wrote as Doug Fetherling or Douglas Fetherling until 1999, when he began using George Fetherling, in honor of his late father.
He has been the weekly books columnist for the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, and Vancouver Sun. From 1980 to 1982 he was the literary editor of the Kingston Whig-Standard. He has worked for many other publications, including Quill & Quire, Saturday Night, and Canadian Art.
He has taught journalism at Ryerson University, and has served as writer-in-residence at a number of institutions, including Queen's University, the University of New Brunswick, and the University of Toronto.
He received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for his "substantial contribution to Canadian letters."
- D.Litt honoris causa, St. Mary’s University, Halifax, 1997.
- Harbourfront Festival Prize “for substantial contribution to Canadian literature”, 1995.
- Shortlisted for Trillium Award for Travels By Night, 1994.
- Asia-Pacific Foundation Fellow in China, 1990.
- The United States of Heaven / Gwendolyn papers / That chainletter hiway . Toronto: Anansi, 1968.
- My Experience in the War. Toronto: Weed / Flower Press, 1970.
- Our Man in Utopia. Toronto: Macmillan, 1971.
- Eleven Early Poems. Toronto: Weed / Flower Press, 1972.
- Cafe Terminus. Toronto: Missing Link Press, 1973.
- Achilles' Navel: Throbs, laments, and vagaries. Erin, ON: Press Porcepic, 1974.
- Subroutines. Toronto: League of Canadian Poets, [1981?]
- Four Corners (pamphlet). Toronto: privately published, 1984.
- Variorum: New poems and old, 1965-1985. Toronto, ON: Hounslow Press, 1985.
- Moving Towards the Vertical Horizon. Toronto: Subway Books, 1986.
- Poems were Little Flags We Nailed to ... (pamphlet). Toronto: Curved H & Z, 1986.
- Rites of Alienation. Kingston, ON: Quarry Press, 1988.
- The Crowded Darkness. Kingston, ON: Quarry Press / Toronto: Subway Books, 1988.
- The Dreams of Ancient Peoples. Toronto: ECW Press, 1991.
- Selected Poems. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1994.
- Madagascar: Poems and translations. Windsor: Black Moss, 1999.
- Singer, An Elegy. Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2004.
- The Sylvia Hotel Poems. Vancouver: Quattro, 2010.
- Plans Deranged by Time: The poetry of George Fetherling (edited by A.F. Moritz). Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012.
- The File on Arthur Moss: A novel. Toronto: Lester, 1994.
- Jericho: A novel. Toronto: Random House, 2005.
- Walt Whitman's Secret: A novel. Toronto: Random House, 2010.
- *Tales of Two Cities: A novella plus stories. Vancouver: Subway Books, 2006.
- Hugh Garner. Toronto: Forum House, 1972.
- The Five Lives of Ben Hecht. Toronto: Lester & Orpen, 1977.
- Gold Diggers of 1929: Canada and the great stock market crash. Toronto: Macmillan, 1979.
- Wheeling: An illustrated history (illustrated by Janet Boyle). Woodland Hills, CA: Windsor, 1983.
- The Blue Notebook: Reports on Canadian culture. Oakville, ON, & New York: Mosaic Press, 1985.
- The Crowded Darkness — 1988
- The Gold Crusades: A social history of the gold rushes, 1849-1929. Toronto: Macmillan, 1988
- revised edition, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
- The Rise of the Canadian Newspaper. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1990.
- A LIttle Bit of Thunder: The strange inner life of the 'Kingston Whig-Standard'. Toronto: Stoddart, 1993.
- A.Y. Jackson. Kingston, ON:
- The Gentle Anarchist: A Life of George Woodcock. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre / Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1998.
- A Biographical Dictionary of the World's Assassins. Toronto: Random House, 2001
- published in U.S. as The Book of Assassins: A biographical dictionary from ancient times to the present. New York: Wiley, 2001.
- River of Gold: The Fraser and Cariboo gold rushes. Vancouver: Subway Books, 2008.
- Jive Talk: George Fetherling in interviews and documents (edited by Joe Blades). Fredericton, NB: Broken Jaw Press, 2001.
- Tanked: Canadian think tanks and the daily press. Calgary, AB: Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, 2007.
- Travels By Night: A memoir of the sixties. Toronto: Lester, 1994.
- Way Down Deep in the Belly of the Beast: A memoir of the seventies. Toronto: Lester, 1996.
- Year of the Horse: A journey Through Russia and China. Toronto: Stoddart, 1991.
- The Other China: Journeys around Taiwan. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1995.
- Running Away to Sea: Round the world on a tramp freighter. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1998.
- Three Pagodas Pass: A roundabout journey to Burma. Vancouver: Subway Books, 2002.
- One Russia, Two Chinas. Vancouver: Prospect Books, 2004; Toronto: Dundurn, 2004.
- Indochina: Now and then. Toronto: Dundurn, 2012.
- Thumbprints: An anthology of hitchhiking poems. Toronto: P. Martin, 1969.
- A George Woodcock Reader. Ottawa: Deneau & Greenberg, 1980.
- Carl Sandburg at the Movies: A poet in the silent era, 1920-1927 (edited with Dale Fetherling). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1985.
- Documents in Canadian Art. Peterborough, ON, & Lewiston, NY: Broadview Press, 1987.
- Documents in Canadian Film. Peterborough, ON, & Lewiston, NY: Broadview Press, 1988.
- The Broadview Book of Canadian Anecdotes. Peterborough, ON, & Lewiston, NY: Broadview Press, 1988.
- Best Canadian Essays 1989. Saskatoon, SK: Fifth House, 1989
- Best Canadian Essays 1990. Saskatoon, SK: Fifth House, 1990.
- The Vintage Book of Canadian Memoirs — 2001
Letters and journalsEdit
- Notes from a Journal, 1979-1980. Toronto: Columbus St. Press, 1987.
- The Writing Life: Journals, 1975-2005. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Karen Grandy & Virginia Galeese, Douglas Fetherling, Canadian Encyclopedia, December 14, 2013, Historica Canada. Web, Apr. 7, 2017.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Alan Twigg, Fetherling, George, ABC Bookworld, BC Bookworld. Web, Apr. 7, 2017.
- ↑ George Fetherling, Writers Union of Canada. Web, Apr. 7, 2017.
- ↑ Search results = au:George Fetherling, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Aug. 9, 2014.
- George Fetherling at Amazon.com
- Douglas Fetherling in the Canadian Encyclopedia
- Fetherling, George at ABC Bookworld
- Author profile, Quill & Quire.
- An interview with George Fetherling at McGill-Queen's University Press
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