Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks St.

Past Imperfect
with Frances Itani,
Ed O'Loughlin
and Linda Spalding

Hosted by artsfile.ca’s Peter Robb
"A Reckoning is an extraordinary novel. A humane and timely examination of how the societies we create—just or profoundly unjust—set the parameters for the people we become. This is a beautiful and brilliant work of art, vulnerable, driven, and unsettling.
— Madeleine Thien
Ed O’Loughlin
Frances Itani - Photo courtesy of Maggie Knaus
Linda Spalding - Photo courtesy of Derek Shapton

Three acclaimed authors invite us to explore the past and share amazing stories that bring history to life and resonate through time. Join us for an exploration of family and a conversation about how history is forever entangled with the present.

At the end of Frances Itani’s Scotiabank Giller Prize—shortlisted Tell, a baby is adopted by a young Deseronto couple who are coming to terms with the end of the Great War. Eighteen years on, the baby, Hanora, now a young woman, is told about her adoption, but given no details.  That's My Baby is her story. Amid the tensions of World War II, the music and the great dance halls of the era beckon, and a career as a journalist becomes possible, even as her great love, Tobe, enlists in the Infantry. But Hanora will not let the past lie, even though, decades later, the truth remains beyond her grasp. 

Ed O’Loughlin moves between a frozen present and an ever thawing past. Minds of Winter, nominated for the 2017 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, is a novel about ice and time and their ability to preserve or destroy, of mortality and loss and our dreams of transcending them. It begins with a chance encounter at the top of the world. Fay Morgan and Nelson Nilsson have each arrived in Inuvik, Canada, about 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle and discover that their relatives have an extraordinary and historic connection a secret share in Sir John Franklin’s Northwest Passage expedition.

As the deeply moving and troubling account of a family's breakdown,  A Reckoning  is a perfect companion to Linda Spalding's bestselling, award-winning previous novel, The Purchase. It opens in the spring of 1855, when John Dickinson is involved in a shameful secret that will require a tragic decision. The family's resources have been wasted by a reckless brother who holds all of them hostage and, adding fuel to John's desperation, the enslaved workers have been visited by a Canadian abolitionist who pushes them to escape. Bry does, and his pursuit of freedom will involve a dangerous quest to find his mother and child in Canada. 


Books available for purchase at every event: Proceeds support our free children’s literacy programs.

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