About the Books
My Mother's Daughter - by Perdita Felicien
An instant national bestseller, this raw and affecting memoir is the story of a mother and daughter who beat the odds together. Decades before Perdita Felicien became a World Champion hurdler running the biggest race of her life at the 2004 Olympics, she carried more than a nation’s hopes—she carried her mother Catherine's dreams.
In 1974, Catherine is determined and tenacious, but she’s also pregnant with her second child and just scraping by in St. Lucia. When she meets a wealthy white Canadian family vacationing on the island, she knows it's her chance. They ask her to come to Canada to be their nanny—and she accepts.
This was the beginning of Catherine’s new life: a life of opportunity, but also suffering. Within a few years, she would find herself pregnant a third time—this time in her new country with no family to support her, and this time, with Perdita. Together, in the years to come, mother and daughter would experience racism, domestic abuse, and even homelessness, but Catherine’s will would always pull them through.
As Perdita grew and began to discover her preternatural athletic gifts, she was edged onward by her mother’s love, grit, and faith. Facing literal and figurative hurdles, she learned to leap and pick herself back up when she stumbled. This book is a daughter's memoir—a book about the power of a parent’s love to transform their child’s life.
A Town Called Solace - by Mary Lawson
New York Times bestselling author Mary Lawson, acclaimed for digging into the “wilderness of the human heart,” is back after almost a decade with a fresh and timely novel that is different in subject but just as emotional and atmospheric as her beloved earlier work.
A Town Called Solace—the brilliant and emotionally radiant new novel from Mary Lawson, her first in nearly a decade—opens on a family in crisis: rebellious teenager Rose been missing for weeks with no word, and Rose’s younger sister, the feisty and fierce Clara, keeps a daily vigil at the living-room window, hoping for her sibling’s return.
Enter thirtyish Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, where he promptly moves into the house next door—watched suspiciously by astonished and dismayed Clara, whose elderly friend, Mrs. Orchard, owns that home. Around the time of Rose’s disappearance, Mrs. Orchard was sent for a short stay in hospital, and Clara promised to keep an eye on the house and its remaining occupant, Mrs. Orchard’s cat, Moses. As the novel unfolds, so does the mystery of what has transpired between Mrs Orchard and the newly arrived stranger.
Told through three distinct, compelling points of view—Clara’s, Mrs. Orchard’s, and Liam Kane’s—the novel cuts back and forth among these unforgettable characters to uncover the layers of grief, remorse, and love that connect families, both the ones we're born into and the ones we choose. A Town Called Solace is a masterful, suspenseful and deeply humane novel by one of our great storytellers.
Speak, Silence - by Kim Echlin
From the internationally bestselling and Giller-shortlisted author of The Disappeared, an astounding, poetic novel about war and loss, suffering and courage, and the strength of women through it all.
It’s been eleven years since Gota has seen Kosmos, yet she still finds herself fantasizing about their intimate year together in Paris. Now it’s 1999 and, working as a journalist, she hears about a film festival in Sarajevo, where she knows Kosmos will be with his theatre company. She takes the assignment to investigate the fallout of the Bosnian war—and to reconnect with the love of her life.
But when they are reunited, she finds a man, and a country, altered beyond recognition. Kosmos introduces Gota to Edina, the woman he has always loved. While Gota treads the precarious terrain of her evolving connection to Kosmos, she and Edina forge an unexpected bond. A lawyer and a force to be reckoned with, Edina exposes the sexual violence that she and thousands of others survived in the war. Before long, Gota finds her life entwined with the community of women and travels with them to The Hague to confront their abusers. The events she covers—and the stories she hears—will change her life forever.
Written in Kim Echlin’s masterfully luminescent prose, Speak, Silence weaves together the experiences of a resilient sisterhood and tells the story of the real-life trial that would come to shape history. In a heart-wrenching tale of suffering and loss and a beautiful illustration of power and love, Echlin explores what it means to speak out against the very people who would do anything to silence you.
About the Panelists
Award-winning author KIM ECHLIN lives in Toronto. She is the author of Elephant Winter and Dagmar’s Daughter, and her third novel, The Disappeared, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction and was published in 20 countries. Her novel Under the Visible Life was critically acclaimed, endorsed by Khaled Hosseini, and declared “nothing short of a masterpiece” by Quill & Quire. Her most recent novel is Speak, Silence.
PERDITA FELICIEN is an author, television host, sports broadcaster, two-time Olympian, ten-time National Champion, and the first Canadian woman to win a World Championship gold medal in track and field. During her career as a 100-metre hurdler, she earned numerous honours, including Canada’s Athlete of the Year and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Felicien retired from professional sports in 2013 and is now a broadcast journalist. She was part of CBC’s broadcast team at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and was inducted into Athletics Canada's Hall of Fame. My Mother’s Daughter is her first book.
MARY LAWSON was born and brought up in a small farming community in Ontario. She is the author of the nationally and internationally bestselling novels Crow Lake, The Other Side of the Bridge, and Road Ends. Crow Lake was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. The Other Side of the Bridge was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. A Town Called Solace is her fourth novel. Lawson lives in England but returns to Canada frequently.
EMCEE : LUCY VAN OLDENBARNEVELD
LUCY VAN OLDENBARNEVELD is the host of CBC News Ottawa. Her work with CBC has seen her reporting on major stories across the country. She has reported on a number of significant Canadian events, and is involved with providing journalism training in different parts of Africa—most recently in Abuja, Nigeria. Before coming to Ottawa, she was the host/reporter of the afternoon radio show at CBC Whitehorse.
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