25th Trillium Award

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Lucie Wilk

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Lucie Wilk

There must be something about the imagination and precision required to practice medicine that leads to great writing. With the publication of her debut novel, The Strength of Bone (Biblioasis), Toronto-born Lucie Wilk, now a medical doctor working in the UK, joins a small cast of exceptional writers who make the time to pursue these two consuming passions. The Strength of Bone takes place in Blantyre, Malawi, and follows the challenging journey of a North American doctor who tries to bury his own grief in the suffering of the patients at the ill-equipped hospital to which he's fled. At times all he can do is call upon the inexplicable strength of the Malawian nurse, Iris, who works alongside him. Annabel Lyon has praised The Strength of Bone as "an extraordinary look at the clash of worlds," and Joseph Boyden has called it "a stunning debut."

Lucie has returned to Canada this October to tour The Strength of Bone in Ontario. You can find her in Waterloo on October 10, in Hamilton on October 16, in Toronto on October 17 and in Windsor on October 18. Visit our Events pages for details.

In today's edition of The WAR Series (Writers As Readers), Lucie shares the books that have influenced her on the long path to the publication of her debut novel.

The WAR Series, with Lucie Wilk

The first book I remember reading on my own:
Ozma of Oz. The third book in the series by L. Frank Baum. The strange cast of characters and the slightly creepy original illustrations remain locked in my memory.

A book that made me cry:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Devastating.

The first adult book I read:
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Definitely laugh out loud funny.

The book I have re-read many times:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Each new pass brings a new joy.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Treasure Island by Robert Stevenson. Now my kids are reading it and I may just pick it up once they?re done.

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:
Anna Karenina. I waited much too long for it.

The best book I read in the past six months:
The Secret River by Kate Grenville. Profoundly well-written. Steeped in humanity.

The book I plan on reading next:
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden.

A possible title for my autobiography:
The Girl Who Longed for More Time to Read.

Lucie Wilk grew up in Toronto and completed her medical training in Vancouver. Her short fiction has been nominated for the McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize Anthology and longlisted for a CBC Canada Writes literary prize. Her work has been published in Descant, Prairie Fire and Shortfire Press. She is working toward an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She practices medicine and lives with her husband and two children in London, UK.

For more information about The Strength of Bone please visit the Biblioasis website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online from Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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