Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks St.

Living History
with Sharon Butala, Paul Yee
and Sharon Johnston

Hosted by Carleton University’s Susan Birkwood
"Wild Rose is written by someone with considerable life experience, someone who has made significant effort to understand the effects of place, time, hope, fear, and belief on the human condition, and, in particular, on the lives of women.
— Quill and Quire on Sharon Butala
Paul Yee - Photo courtesy of Wong Photos 2015
Sharon Butala
Sharon Johnston

Canadian history comes to life in three remarkable novels that give voice to the marginalized and their struggles for justice and belonging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

From Sharon Butala , author of the best-sellers The Perfection of the Morning and The Girl in Saskatoon, comes Wild Rose. Set in the 1880s, in southwest Saskatchewan, it is the story of Sophie, a young Quebecoise mother who finds she has to make her own way in what was then decisively a man’s world.

Paul Yee , the author of nearly thirty books for young readers, including the Governor General's Award-winning Ghost Train, returns to the Festival with his first novel for adults, A Superior Man. Set just after the CPR is built in 1885, Yang Hok, a former coolie, treks along the railway to return his half-Chinese/half-Native son to the boy’s mother and finds himself immersed in the conflicts arising from road-building among the Chinese and Native peoples.

Set in Southern Alberta just after the First World War, against a backdrop of love, union organizers, amorous bachelors, gamblers, drinkers and prostitutes, the lives of two women unexpectedly intertwine in Sharon Johnston’s debut novel, Matrons and Madams. In this sprawling saga, Lily and Clara must confront the city’s conservative thinkers to bring help and compassion to wounded veterans and aid in the establishment of the first venereal disease clinic in the province.


This event is organized in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts to mark the 2015 edition of the Governor General’s Literary Awards.

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