Launching a collective labour of love

Read by E. D. Morin to those assembled at the When the Wheels Fall Off Calgary launch:


Tonight, I want to introduce a book project our collective recently helped to put out into the world. The Crabapples, I should mention, are a group of like-minded writers and editors, and we include as our members Inge Trueman, Annie Wesko, Jane Cawthorne and Lou Morin.

Our recent book project is called Pelee Island Stories and it’s a short fiction collection by Tanya Coovadia. The gorgeous book layout and cover is by Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design who also designed both of Inge’s novels.

We found Tanya Coovadia through Jane Cawthorne. And Jane and Tanya found each other while studying Creative Writing at Pine Manor College just outside Boston, Massachusetts. Pulling Tanya Coovadia’s stories together and turning them into a book was a labour of love for the Crabapple Collective. In June, Tanya was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and given perhaps a year to live, if she is lucky. As Tanya puts it: “This is, possibly, the only way I’ll actually get a book of my work made within my natural lifetime.”

Tanya Coovadia is an accomplished and gifted writer. She makes her home in Florida, grew up in small-town Ontario, and spent many of her formative years on Pelee Island. Pelee, as Coovadia writes in the collection’s final story “Coming Back Alone,” is a “nine by four-mile oblong in the middle of the west corner of Lake Erie with two finger-like projections, one that points north, toward Canada, and another that points south toward the US.” Each of the five stories in the collection are set on Pelee Island, and span about two decades.

From author Sandra Scofield: “Tanya Coovadia is in the midst of it. Life. And life on the islands is hardscrabble. The problems are familiar, sure. Who to love, how to make it, how to stay out of the way of what’s coming next. But they are particular, too. Coovadia creates a universe all her own, and her characters announce themselves as survivors. They give and take, and somewhere in the tension you find yourself remembering to catch your breath.”

Pelee Island Stories was birthed as a limited print run at the University of Toronto. I am lucky to be holding a copy, which I just received yesterday! The book will be widely available on Amazon, but we don’t have an exact publication date yet. I encourage you to check the Crabapple Mews Collective website (the address is on our bookmark!) for news about the book’s release.

E. D. Morin