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
Category: history (page 1 of 1)
Here’s a video review of Poor Farm from Michelle Butler Hallett. I enjoy reading Michelle’s books, so it’s a big thrill for me she picked Poor Farm for Atlantic Books Today. The video clip is embedded below or go here if the video doesn’t load.
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
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