I got the opportunity to write an article for the Irish Times about the stress of balancing life and work while under lockdown. I also talk a little about how the experience led to the writing of Poor Farm. I hope it will be of interest to readers of this blog. Here is the link to the the Irish Times Article.
Alexander Graham Bell helped shape the modern world. Famed for the telephone, he had a broad range of interests that spawned a number of inventions: spanning airplanes and kites, to deaf education and artificial respiration. His legacy is so ubiquitous that the Bell telephone company founded by his brother-in-law is still around today.Read more
Look what I just got a hold of! That grinning idiot above is me holding the first proof copy of the novel. There’s a lot of hard work goes into a novel, so you have to savour actually getting your hands on the (almost final) product. This has always been a dream of mine and I can’t believe it is finally coming through. Thanks to Moose House Publications for believing in me and this story.
Helen Creighton (1899 – 1989) was born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia— a time and place near to the action of Poor Farm. Her life is full of interesting stories but she is primarily remembered as a folklorist. She collected over 4,000 traditional songs and stories in a career spanning several decades, publishing many books and articles on Nova Scotia folk songs. Much of the music featured in Poor Farm is from the Helen Creighton Collection.Read more
Suzanne Rent, a journalist with the Halifax Examiner, has an excellent piece today on one woman’s search for an ancestor who died at a Nova Scotia poor farm. You can read the full article here. I particularly appreciated Katy Jean’s reflection on how horribly Eliza was treated by her own relatives.Read more
The image above is from a recent CBC news article on one man’s quest to preserve Nova Scotia’s abandoned cemeteries. Steve Skafte, a Bridgetown poet and photographer, has created an online map of the forgotten graveyards that dot the province. I felt the same impulse to record the history around one of these sites when out walking with my son and we stumbled upon the Poor Farm burial ground. This became the opening chapter of my novel, Poor Farm.Read more
Welcome to the Poor Farm blog! I will post updates about the novel here, along with longer background pieces. As outlined on the Welcome page: this novel is about an autistic character in nineteenth century Nova Scotia. Why? There are a lot of books on autism but few that imagine what it was like for people on the spectrum in previous times. That’s one reason. The bigger reason is I wrote it for my autistic son.Read more