Today brings our 2014 Page Turner campaign to a close, and we're giving the final word to one of our most enthusiastic supporters. Last year, freelance journalist and short story writer Christine Fischer Guy became a Page Turner and won the coveted prize from Shelagh Rogers
-- a chance to interview the iconic radio host herself. In the summer, Christine gave that prize back to us, by sharing the interview on our site. This fall, Christine will publish her debut novel, The Umbrella Mender, a story set in the 50's in a hospital in Moose Factory, Ontario where staff are struggling with a tuberculosis epidemic among the indigenous peoples of the North. Fellow Page Turner Miriam Toews calls Christine's book "an absolutely compelling read from start to finish." So, the campaign comes full circle. Join Christine as a Page Turner today, and you could win her novel, and a little piece of inspiration to tide you over until fall. Thanks to Christine and all of you for your generosity.
The Canadian North has fascinated us for hundreds of years, poets and painters, writers and scientists, explorers of all stripes. My great-uncle, Dr Barclay McKone, whose memoir inspired my debut novel, went north in 1950 as a medic at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic among the Cree and the Inuit in the James Bay communities. He continued to talk about his years there until he died, and not only for the groundbreaking medicine he practiced there. The North represented the great adventure of his life, full stop.
When I traveled to Moose Factory in 2008 to research my novel, I was smitten and humbled by the wild beauty of the north. In that majestic landscape, it’s impossible to feel more than a bit player. Without the myriad diversions and insulations of the city, we press up against the final frontier: ourselves.
These unfamiliar and unforgiving landscapes give us a chance to map new territories of the self. If books record those journeys, writers are cartographers. Project Bookmark celebrates the intersection of these interior and exterior geographies, the physical place where writers reimagine and reconsider and re-chart the landscapes of our individual and collective identities. X marks the spot: Michael Ondaatje’s Bloor Viaduct, Wayson Choy’s Vancouver Chinatown, Carol Shield’s Winnipeg—Project Bookmark is there. Maybe one day, with your help, it will mark places in our literature of the north: Kathleen Winter’s Labrador, Richard Wagamese’s and Joseph Boyden’s northern Ontario, Thomson Highway’s Manitoba.
For $20, you can be part of this literary mapping of Canada. Won’t you join me? You’ll have a chance to win a copy of my debut novel, The Umbrella Mender. To tide you over until its publication in September, I’ll send you this copperplate etching I made on the theme of brooding and hatching. (For the connection of brooding/hatching to tuberculosis, see my Ryeberg video essay. ) It was printed at Spark Box Studios in Picton, Ontario on 100% cotton with nontoxic ink. Use it as a bookmark!
Good luck, and thank you!