I was delighted to be asked to discuss a forthcoming Moose House Press book, Less Than Innocent, with fellow Nova Scotia author Carol Anne Cole. Moose House is the publisher of Poor Farm. In this new novel, nineteen Nova Scotia authors (myself included) collaborated on each writing a chapter set during the lockdown of 2020. The only rules were you only had a week to read the previous chapter and could not reverse the ongoing story. The whole project was a lot of fun and a very interesting spur to creativity. The book will be available from Moose House soon.Read more
I was delighted when Brenda Thompson asked me to contribute a foreword to her second edition of A Wholesome Horror: Poor Houses in Nova Scotia published by SSP Publications. I have known Brenda for a number of years now and her research and support were critical to Poor Farm. Check out the latest edition for a much expanded take on this neglected area of Nova Scotia history, and see below for my full foreword.Read more
I was fortunate to contribute to the latest edition of White Enso [Spring 2022] with a review of Jean Pasley’s wonderful novel, Black Dragonfly. The novel is about the life of Lafcadio Hearn, a nineteenth century Irish writer who emigrated to Japan. I won’t trouble you with all the details here, but encourage you to check out my review.Read more
In the course of researching Poor Farm, I came across the fascinating story of Ned Beals. He was from nineteenth century Preston, still today one of the largest African-Nova Scotian communities in the province. Although my novel is primarily concerned with the plight of an autistic young man in a poor farm, it does touch on the history of others like Ned Beals, many of whom were unfairly incarcerated in these institutions. Stewart, the main character, and Ned connect through popular songs. Ned is one of the few inmates who genuinely empathizes with Stewart, to the point where Stewart copies him by covering his mouth, an unconscious gesture the historical Ned used to make to cover a deformity there.Read more
Atlantic Books are dedicated to helping readers in Atlantic Canada discover books written and published in their region. They release high quality magazines and guides, including their Holiday Gifts Guide. I was delighted to see Poor Farm featured in the Historical Stories Section. They say the best gift you can give someone is a novel experience. What better gift is there than the transformation of your surroundings offered by a book?
As mentioned in a previous post, I had the pleasure of reading at the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum. The weather was lovely and, thanks to Heather and Sawyer, we had tables and chairs set up out in the main yard of the farm. Heather is curator of the museum and was of invaluable assistance in the research behind the book. Also thanks to Sue Slade from Dartmouth Book Exchange for helping with organization and sales. She even made mini-book themed chocolates! Finally thanks to everyone who took the time to attend and discuss Poor Farm.Read more