Cordelia Strube is the author of eight darkly comic urban novels, most recently Lemon, a finalist for the prestigious Trillium Book Award, which a National Post reviewer called “the kind of book that punches you in the gut and rips your heart out simultaneously. In a good way.”

An acerbic coming-of-age novel about an unforgettable and inadvertently charming teenaged girl with three mothers and lots of attitude, Lemon follows the eponymous protagonist as she navigates the terrors of high school and family life. The book is mordantly funny, and deeply touching, too. In a podcast interview with her own teenage daughter, Carson, Cordelia describes the theme simply as, “What the hell are we doing? Why don’t we smarten up?”

Cordelia is known for her tough-minded realism and her irreverent voice, which the New York Times called “smart, eccentric.” Toronto Star reviewer predicts she is Canada’s best bet to succeed Alice Munro.

Born and raised in Montreal, Cordelia trained as an actress, then turned to writing plays for stage and radio. In 1987, she won the CBC Literary Competition for her play Mortal. She wrote five more radio plays, then, frustrated by the lack of control over how they were produced, she began writing novels, determined to document the time she lives in, and the subjects others avoid.

“I write about where I see holes,” she says, “what is not being talked about.”

Cordelia has won the Toronto Arts Foundation Protégé Award and was shortlisted for the Prix Italia, the Books In Canada First Novel Award, the ReLit Award, and the Governor General’s Award. Her eight novels include Milton’s Elements, Dr. Kalbfleisch and the Chicken Restaurant, and Planet Reese.

For a taste of Lemon and Cordelia’s thoughts on friend Paul Quarrington, watch this video. Check here for a video review of Lemon.

Listen to the podcast.

Photo Credit: Peter Bregg