Monday, April 24, 2017

Local Book Nook #1: Manitoba, Canada

So the first person to be featured on my new Local Book Nook blog series is... me!

If you don't know, Local Book Nook is a blog series I just started today. It is a blog series featuring readers from all over the world talking about their favourite local books and authors. If you would like to learn more or if you would like to be one of these featured readers, go here or comment below with your contact info and I will contact you!

Where are you from?

I am from Canada, in particular the beautiful and often underrated prairie province Manitoba. There is a book called If You're Not From the Prairie that basically sums up my experience as a Manitoban. As a prairie girl, what other people call flat is often nowhere close to what I consider flat. I have been witness to many beautiful prairie sunsets, and I have felt the fierceness of the prairie winds in all seasons.

Manitoba has a great literary scene which I have really only dipped my toe into at this point. There are a lot of great prairie writers, lots of prairie literary magazines (one of my favourites is Prairie Fire), publishers, a literary festival, and great local bookstores that promote and feature a wide variety of books, including a great section featuring local prairie authors.

What are some of your favourite local books or authors?

While searching for local books I have read, I discovered that there are a ton of local authors whose work I've never read. I need to fix that! Anyway, here are a few of my favourite local authors whose work I have read:

1. Perry Nodelman and Carol Matas (Of Two Minds, More Minds)

I think I was probably nine or ten when I first read their MG fantasy, Of Two Minds. It was about two characters from two different kingdoms - Princess Lenora, who was from a kingdom where the subjects could make their dreams a reality, and Prince Coren, from a kingdom where the subjects could read minds. They get pushed together, and Lenora's fierce personality and Coren's much more subdued one make a perfect pairing. Everything about this book and its sequel (now I think it has two sequels?) I loved - the premise, the characters, the world building. It was so fascinating that I remembered the plot perfectly, even years later. I found it at a used book sale, reread it, and it was still as good as ever. I also realized that Lenora and Coren's relationship had subconsciously influenced my own writing, as I had created two characters in a fantasy series that were based on them. Anyway, when I came back to it years later, I found out that Perry Nodelman and Carol Matas are actually from Winnipeg, Manitoba, which made me unbelievably excited.

2. Katherena Vermette (North End Love Songs, The Break)

Katherena Vermette is becoming more and more well known on the Canadian literary scene, especially with her newest novel The Break, which was actually featured on CBC's Canada Reads this year. I have yet to read The Break (I am planning to soon!) but I have read her first poetry book, North End Love Songs, which just perfectly depicts what it is like growing up in one of the rougher neighbourhoods of Winnipeg. Her writing was absolutely exquisite and so effective at drawing out emotion. It struck me while reading her short book of poetry that she would make an excellent novelist, so I am excited to read her book.

3. Miriam Toews (A Complicated Kindness, Swing Low: A Life, All My Puny Sorrows)
I feel like if you are going to learn anything about Manitoba and some of the people that make up its population, you should read anything and everything by Miriam Toews. The first book of hers that I read was A Complicated Kindness, which was the book that launched her into Canada-wide fame. Then I took a Mennonite literature class (fascinating stuff), and reread A Complicated Kindness, enjoying it even more the second time. I've also read her books Swing: Low A Life and All My Puny Sorrows. All her books deal with the suffocation and sorrow of growing up in the stifling environment of conservative Mennonite communities in southern Manitoba, and the consequences of that. But she is also able to write these deeply sorrowful stories with a unique sense of humor that perfectly captures the inconsistencies of the people she portrays. A Complicated Kindness in particular I found laugh out loud funny. I would definitely encourage you to pick up one of her books.

So those are just a few Manitoba authors that I love, although I could talk about more if you want me to! ;)

And don't forget if YOU want to do a post sharing about your favourite local authors, either leave a comment with your contact info, email me at asherlockwrites(at)gmail(dot)com, or Tweet/DM me on Twitter!


  1. I love this post. I've still never been as far West as Manitoba, but my sister lived in Winnipeg for several years and really liked it.
    Have you read Ledger of the Open Hand by Leslie Vryenhoek? She lives in NF now, but her book is set in Manitoba. It was one of my favourite reads last year!

    1. Thank you! You should come here, it's great, although I'd recommend coming in summer instead. I have not read that book! I'll have to check it out.


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