We are sad to report that our friend Tanya Coovadia died yesterday. Her IPPY award – which she received two weeks before she passed away – was a true affirmation of the excellence of her writing, and the impact of Pelee Island Stories.
Emily Dickinson said “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” The truth must dazzle gradually, she advises. Tanya’s writing is like this, dazzling gradually, letting us see the truth on a slant so we won’t be blinded by it. Pelee Island Stories is about love, loss and hope. Her writing evokes place so strongly, readers feel as though they too have lived on the island as they brush against the forsythia and walk the dusty roads with Ranger the dog at our heels. The characters become our family and neighbours and their struggles are our struggles.
In person, Tanya dazzled all at once with an effervescence that made everyone around her bubble too. Her enthusiasm for life was total. Generous in every way, she had that rare ability to make everyone feel like they belonged. Her love of her children, her husband and her friends was evident in every conversation we had.
We are grateful to have had a hand in sharing her work and letting others who may not have had the good fortune to meet her get to know her this way. We send our sympathies to her family.