Fiction writers Martyn Burke, Sharon Johnston, Sophia Nikolaidou and Jim Shepard discuss their latest war-set novels. Historian Hugh Brewster moderates.
Being able to create books, plays and performances about history is a dream job for Hugh Brewster (Canada) since he’s always been enthralled by history. As an author, he has written fourteen books for young readers and adults. On Juno Beach won the Information Book Award in 2005 and At Vimy Ridge was a Norma Fleck Award winner in 2008. Other titles include Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, a Governor General’s Award nominee in 1998 and an adult book RMS TITANIC: Gilded Lives on a Fatal Voyage which was a national bestseller and published in six countries in 2012. His latest book is From Vimy to Victory: Canada’s Fight to the Finish in World War I.
Martyn Burke is an author and journalist. His previous novels include Laughing War and The Commissar’s Report. He is also a documentary filmmaker, whose Under Fire: Journalists in Combat won a Peabody Award in 2013. He has written extensively for film and television, most notably as writer of HBO’s political satire The Second Civil War. Burke presents his new tragi-comic novel, Music for Love or War, which follows a Canadian sharp-shooter and a soldier in the US Army in their searches for the women they love.
Sharon Johnston grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and graduated with a degree in physical and occupational therapy from the University of Toronto. She completed a doctorate in rehabilitation science from McGill University and ran a horse-training business called Chatterbox Farm. She presents her latest work, Matrons and Madams, a post-WWI saga where the lives of two women unexpectedly intertwine when they establish the first venereal disease clinic in the province.
Sophia Nikolaidou was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. She teaches literature and creative writing and writes criticism for various newspapers, including Ta Nea. She has published four novels and two collections of short stories, several of which have been translated into eight languages. Her previous novel, Tonight We Have No Friends, won the 2010 Athens Prize for Literature. She presents The Scapegoat, a sweeping saga that brings together the turbulent Greece of the postwar period with the struggles it faces today. Supported by Integrated Consulting Services and Onassis Foundation
Jim Shepard is the author of six previous novels and four collections of stories. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children, and teaches at Williams College. His collection Like You'd Understand Anyway won the Story Prize and was shortlisted for the National Book Award, and his work has been selected several times for The Best American Short Stories and the PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories. He presents The Book of Aron, a deeply affecting novel about the Holocaust and the children whose lives were caught up in it.