Great Canadian Novel


Brian Moore, known as “the Irish novelist of conscience” set his book, “The Luck of Ginger Coffey” in Montreal, Canada. Moore was a Canadian citizen and won the Governor General’s Award for fiction twice. Many of his award winning novels, including  “The Luck of Ginger Coffey”  were made into films. I had no idea this was a Canadian book with so many  surprises and that I would enjoy it so much.

His book tells the story of Ginger, an Irish immigrant to Canada, who seeks to provide for his family while navigating the labour market and the complexities of married life. Ginger is a principled dreamer who loves deeply and values adventure and freedom over class and religious boundaries.

Brian Moore deftly carries readers into Ginger’s often humorous thoughts and inner turmoil.  The raw honesty expressed by this endearing philosopher move me deeply. I care about Ginger’s fate as he struggles with the reality of loss and the meaning of life.

Moore sprinkles his novel with insightful discourses on concepts such as sacrifice and adds ironic commentary on the nature of Canada’s psyche and heritage. “The Luck of Ginger Coffey” takes readers into unexpected territory and invites us to embrace the often perilous journey of love.


A book was recommended when I went to the Surrey Writer’s Conference entitled “Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us A (Sort Of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing Is Being Rejected” by Jessica Page Morrell. I spotted it on a table, promptly bought it and have marked it up rather well. She claims that less than one percent of submissions are accepted!

It is written in a funny, friendly, kind of way, albeit with some sharp edges of honesty, as she encourages writers to strive for excellence and avoid the rejection pile. Ms. Morrell is an editor and has read many manuscripts that gave her insights into what to avoid if you hope to get an agent or publisher to notice your work. You want the editor to tell the marketing department that your manuscript is a winner? This book is full of tips to make it happen.

Are you familiar with the 3 Act Structure, plotpoints, backstory, subplots, the ideal length of sentences and paragraphs? Who knew we should find powerful verbs and minimize adverbs? This book begs us to pay attention to our genres, character motivation, prologue and scene development and see this as a worthwile learning process. Ms. Morrell suggests we keep our research ideas in one place, preferably a binder, start a list of words that intrigue us and use the Chicago Manual of Style for reference.

Jessica Morrell says writers should be open to good critique as writing is a craft. She suggests an agent wants to represent someone who is sane so if you have some mental health issues, get help now. If you are writing that first draft quickly, as she recommends, please keep eating, sleeping, and socializing while minimizing substance use as healthy people tend to be the most successful writers. I heartily recommend this book!