Among the four the finalists for 2010’s Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, is my friend and teaching colleague, Cathleen With for her book: Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison, a moving story about a fifteen year-old girl, a girl nearly a woman is one of many whose voices are so often silent from an unrelenting cycle of alcoholism, oppression and abuse.
Cathleen and I share a history of teaching students in remote regions of the far north before making our respective homes in Vancouver. Yesterday at work she gave me a kindly signed copy of her book. She warmed my heart with her words of support for my own writing project. Thanks for that, Cathleen.
Recently, while on a long drive from Big White, my daughter chirped to me from the back seat, “Mommy, when your book is published, will you buy me a copy?”
“Yes, dear,” I said, “I’ll buy you a copy of my book, and I’ll even sign it for you.” (I could barely keep my own chuckles concealed.)
“And can I take it to school for show-and-tell?” she asked.
“Great idea.” I said.
At this point both my husband and I exchanged seriously entertained glances. She had set a tall order for me
A: finish my novel. B: get it published C: do this all while she is still young enough to have show-and-tell at school. My daughter is in grade four. I have some serious work to finish up!!! Still possible–she said that grade seven is the cut-off for show-and-tell.
Cathleen, you are an inspiration to this aspiring writer. Good luck with the prize, the nomination is fantastic and well deserved. I am pleased to be your fan and friend!