Category Archives: News

Dear Evelyn awarded the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction 2018

Dear Evelyn  is  the winner of the 2018 Rogers  Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

The jury citation reads:

“Kathy Page’s Dear Evelyn tells the tender and unsettling story of working-class Londoner Harry Miles and the ambitious Evelyn Hill who fall in love as the world around them goes to war. What initially begins as a familiar wartime love story morphs into a startling tale of time’s impact on love and family, as well as one’s complex search for  personal meaning and truth. By integrating themes that are universally understood by readers and skilfully crafting endearing characters that surprise and delight, kathy page has created a poignant literary work of art. The result is a timeless page-turning masterpiece.”

Information about the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize

VIDEO:  Dear Evelyn Writers’ Trust video

VIDEO starting  minute 59: Presentation of the Rogers Writer’s Trust Fiction Prize and “speechless speech” from Kathy Page

VIDEO: BT interview the morning after the awards

Macleans: Here’s the the prize for facing parents and siblings head-on

Kathy Page, Elizabeth Hay among Writers’ Trust winners

Quill and Quire

Dear Evelyn by Kathy Page reviewed in Guardian UK

Elizabeth Lowry reviews Dear Evelyn in The Guardian: “Page’s eighth novel is many things: a love story, a coming-of-age story, and a brilliantly evocative sketch of Britain in the 20th century…..

Its picture of Evelyn herself is authentically troubling, a study of a woman in the grip of terrible compulsions. The warning signs are there from the start, in her panicky housekeeping (“things were much better after she’d spoken with Harry about the accumulation of books and the fussy, old-fashioned effect it gave a room, especially since his book jackets did not match”), her rigid washing and vacuuming schedules, her obsession with hunting down missing pillowcases. Later she is prone to sudden explosions and to punitive silences that last for days: “There was a line between strong-minded and outrageous that Evelyn now crossed with increasing frequency.” Harry, going into contortions to pacify her, says that while “he could bend, she could not”, but Page is after a darker truth. Under the cover of a domestic history, she has ambushed us with a chilling account of a disordered personality. Evelyn, trapped in her trophy house, is every bit as much a casualty of her time and place as her browbeaten husband. Page’s measured, intelligent novel treads nimbly around this bleak terrain.”

Full text here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/12/dear-evelyn-kathy-page-review

 

Evelyn, Harry and the Sick Rose

From the Ormsby Review:  Dear Evelyn, the 8th novel by Kathy Page of Salt Spring Island, concerns the courtship, love, and marriage of Harry Miles and Evelyn Hill from the tumultuous early days of the Second World War to their deaths decades later. I know of no contemporary writer who deals so convincingly with love,” writes Paul Headrick “Page consistently dramatizes the ways in which the feelings of intimate couples are puzzling mixtures of hope, lust, genuine caring, resentment, politics, and much else.”

Full text here  (does reveal plot)

Frankie does time travel

450px-Street_of_terraced_housingI  began work on Frankie Styne and the Silver Man in Norwich, in 1990, and it was inspired by both my  interest in  monsters and my living situation at the time: a terraced house, as it is called in England (row housing), with very thin walls.  Most of these houses were built in the late nineteenth century as housing for railway workers and other working class people. Little thought was given to privacy, and  just a single course of bricks and a  skin of plaster  divides one home from the next. I could hear  a great deal  of my neighbours’ lives – and they mine, no doubt, though I was fairly quiet, due to writing so much. It was sometimes hard to reconcile what I had overheard with  our polite exchanges in the street or over the fence. I began with the  characters,  and they, especially former runaway Liz and her baby Jim,  came quickly to life.

I plotted out the basics  of the story on  flip chart paper. Once I began to write (on my  Amstrad PC with its grey screen and blurry green type)  the story unfolded at a fair pace.  I was soon deeply into  themes that have always interested me: how people  use language to connect (or don’t), how the mainstream culture deals with outsiders, what makes us human,  the complications of sexuality, how we depend on stories to make sense of our lives,  and so on.  I  had a lot of fun writing  Frankie Styne. It’s a literary novel,  but there are elements of horror and touches of speculative fiction throughout, and, to my mind at least, large doses of a dark humour.  I write in both a realistic and a  more fantastic mode, and in this novel, I was able to combine both. I was also able to pay homage to Mary Shelley and, less directly, Fay Weldon,  two literary heroines of mine.  Frankie Styne came out in the UK in 1992 to great reviews, but quickly vanished in the publishing upheavals of the time. I always wished it had had more of a life and  so I was both  delighted and just a little apprehensive  when, over twenty years later,  Bilbioasis proposed to publish it for the first time  in Canada and the USA.

This meant that I had to read it. Reading my own books is something I, like many authors,  tend to avoid.  By the time a novel is complete, I  virtually know the text by heart and am heartily sick of it.  The passing of time helped with this. I read Frankie Styne and the Silver Man, and  even though (or perhaps because)  I am in by now in many ways a different person to the one who wrote it, I did enjoy it.  Still,  I had to ask myself whether  it was it still relevant, and did it matter that the characters use landlines and watch  television, that a crucial scene would have been  different if  Viagra had  been invented, and so on? How much to revise?  I’d written this novel,  which features a mother and baby, before having children of my own,  and while it  was mostly well imagined, there were places where I had things to add, and there were  several  important scenes I wanted to improve, but I left the era and as it was, and  decided I was not the best judge of the book’s continued relevance.

Early reviews, see below, have answered that question.  I’m delighted that Frankie Styne and the Silver Man  is  now finding  such enthusiastic twenty-first century Canadian and American readers.

frankiestyneARCcoversmallFrankie Styne and the Silver Man is dark and funny, painful and uplifting, marvellously satirical but never cynical, and thoroughly invested with good faith. Kathy Page is a marvel. This is the very best book that I’ve read in ages, and if I read another half as good in the next few months, that will constitute an extraordinary literary year…     Read more: http://picklemethis.com/2016/02/10/frankie-styne-and-the-silver-man-by-kathy-page/

“Page (Alphabet, 2014, etc.) builds layers of meaning into her exquisite writing. Her favored themes are here—the stark dichotomies of life, the power of language, the way the social system tries and fails to help people, and how saving grace can come from unseen places.” Kirkus starred reveiw

“Frankie Styne and the Silver Man by Kathy Page is a fantastic novel. Character driven, claustrophobic, and deeply weird, it has a haunting, discomfiting quality that lingers with a reader….”   Read more: http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2016/02/08/kathy-pages-frankie-styne-excellent-oddball.html

frankiestyneARCcoversmallFrankie Styne offers a terrific showcase of Page’s singular style (with its attractive high-low mixture of genres), quirky unexpected invention, and attention to the nuances of psychology. Mere words on a page, her creations linger in the mind long after the reading’s done….” Read more: Frankie Styne in Vancouver Sun

“Five years before The Post-Modern Prometheus aired, Page published her own twist on the Frankenstein story in her native Britain (Page moved to B.C’s Salt Spring Island in 2001), now published in Canada for the first time. In her novel, Page draws on similar pulp material – monsters; aliens; an unhappy, childless marriage – and takes her characters to equally dark places. What’s different is how Page’s monsters display a more complex relationship between inner and outer ugliness and find redemption in responsibility….  Frankie Styne still holds up almost 25 years later.”  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/book-reviews/review-new-fiction-from-gemma-files-kathy-page-and-more/article28743088/

frankiestyneARCcoversmall“Kathy Page’s imaginative and crisply written  Frankie Styne and the Silver Man is one of the creepiest novels I have ever read.” Largehearted Boy

“An amazing and unique read from beginning to end, Frankie Styne & the Silver Man by Kathy Page is a deftly crafted work of truly memorable literary fiction that is especially recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Fiction collections.” Midwest Book Review Bookwatch

 

 

 

 

Kathy Page at Banff Writing Studio Spring 2018

For some time now I’ve had to turn down requests to  work with other writers on their MS, but here is a wonderful opportunity:  Banff Writing Studio.  I’ve taught at Banff before and  can’t wait to return: dedicated students, gorgeous environment, and no distractions—other than the great hikes and delicious meals.

“This program is designed to offer the freedom of unstructured time in accordance to each individual participant’s needs and desired outcomes, in addition the opportunity to work with our esteemed faculty mentors during the five-week program.

Writing Studio also features a weekly reading series, as well as one-on-one sessions with a voice and relaxation instructor to help participants develop their public reading skills.”

https://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/writing-studio

 

Reading and Workshop at Blackburn Lake

As part of  Canada 150 celebrations at Blackburn lake, Salt Spring Island, on 2nd July  at 10 am,  Kathy Page will be reading from her story “We the Trees” and and talking about the inspiration for the story, as well as  offering a nature-writing workshop. This is part of a two day program of arts and nature events organized by the Salt Spring Island Conservancy. All welcome, free event.

Art and Nature Fest