Ross was born on a homestead near Shellbrook, Saskatchewan. When he was seven, his parents separated, and he lived with his mother on a number of different farms during his childhood, going to school in Indian Head, Saskatchewan. He left school after Grade 11 and in 1924 the sixteen-year-old Ross joined the Union Bank of Canada which became part of the Royal Bank of Canada a year later. At first he worked in a number of small towns in Saskatchewan then moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1933 and Montreal, Quebec in 1946, after spending four years in the Canadian Army during World War II. He would remain with the Royal Bank until his retirement in 1968, after which he spent some time in Spain and Greece before moving to a nursing home in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he lived until his death.
As For Me and My House, set in an isolated town in the Prairies during the Great Depression, was published in 1941. At first not much noticed, it went on to become a Canadian literary classic which set the precedent for the genre of Canadian prairie fiction. He wrote three more novels during his lifetime as well as a few anthologies of short stories, none of which became as well known as his first novel. He is known to have destroyed manuscripts of novels that his publisher rejected, including a sequel to Sawbones Memorial.
A monument in his honour has been erected in Indian Head by Saskatchewan artists and readers with a bronze statue sculpted by Joe Fafard.
In 1992, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. He died in 1996 after battling Parkinson's Disease, and was buried in Indian Head. At the end of his life, his homosexuality became public knowledge, thanks in large part to Keath Fraser's controversial 1997 biography As For Me and My Body: A Memoir of Sinclair Ross.
As for Me and My Body: A Memoir of Sinclair Ross by Keath Fraser
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: ECW Press (March 1, 1997)
Amazon: As for Me and My Body: A Memoir of Sinclair Ross
Offering an intimate portrait of the last years of Sinclair Ross's often beleaguered life, this elegant account of an artist in decline—crippled by Parkinson's Disease and a sense of failure, attracted to suicide and his own sexual revelations—leads readers to a new biographical reading of one of Canada's most acclaimed novels, As for Me and My House. As a homosexual, Sinclair Ross grew up behind his own false front on the prairies, developing after the war into a more cosmopolitan man than previously imagined.
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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