Winnipeg writer Joan Thomas describes her most recent novel, Five Wives, as “a deep dive into a real event that astonished me.” It won the Governor-General’s Literary Award, with the jury citation calling it “a compelling and powerful story about an encounter that alters the lives of those involved for generations…Ambitiously conceived and beautifully written, this book is a masterful achievement.”

Her three previous novels, Reading by Lightning, Curiosity, and The Opening Sky, have won accolades and prestigious awards, including the Amazon First Novel Award and a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. She is the recipient of a Writers’ Trust Engel / Findley Prize for a writer in mid-career in recognition of a remarkable body of work. A long-time contributing reviewer for The Globe and Mail, Joan also co-edited Turn of the Story: Canadian Short Fiction on the Eve of the Millennium and selected stories for the Journey Prize Anthology.

Though all her books are quite different in terms of subject, period, and form, Joan feels they share the idea of “people caught in those cataclysmic moments where their vision of the world is really challenged.”

Author Patrons: Pat MacKay and Gillian Sadinsky


Appearing in: 10. Writing the Real, 18. Author! Author!