Merilyn Simonds is the author of The Convict Lover, The Holding, and A New Leaf, books that all explore how we make our peace with place. Last fall, she published The Paradise Project, a book of flash fiction, hand typeset and hand printed on a 19th-century press. Place is a puzzle Merilyn plays with in all her writing—fiction, non-fiction, essays, lyric prose. Find out how you can win your own Paradise by becoming a Page Turner today.

Photo by Garrett Elliot

Photo by Garrett Elliot

Tess Gallagher once told me, “Art happens at the moment when you are unseated.” Moving to a new place can do that. Seeing an old place in a new way does that too, like a garden after a storm, a marriage after an affair.

There’s the real place: that’s where I start, the ink my pen dips into. A prison. A piece of land. A garden. The ink scratched on the page looks nothing like it did in the bottle. The grey stones of the penitentiary, the ones I walk past every day, become someone’s home. The land, a battleground. The garden: well, the garden is where it all started, the split-second when we sowed the seed that said, “Here. We’ll stay here, no more hunting and gathering, this will be our place.” 

Time and Place: the longitudes and latitudes of literature.

Project Bookmark is drawing the map. Each plaque scrawled with lines from a writer’s page, and right there, look: the ink in the bottle, too. Imagine walking plaque to plaque across the country: our landscape, our literature.


I’m a Page Turner. Join me. Let’s make a trip like that possible.

If you donate today, you may win a signed limited-edition copy of The Paradise Project.


The Paradise Project is a limited edition, handmade book. The block print images that float beneath the text were carved by Merilyn's son, Erik Mohr. Emily Cook, a Toronto paper artist, hand-made the endpapers from plants in Merilyn’s sprawling gardens.