Writer Jane Urquhart is ecstatic.
The author of The Underpainter, The Stone Carvers and A Map of Glass, who was in Ottawa yesterday to read from her seventh novel, Sanctuary Line, had just learned that her latest effort had earned her a Giller Prize nomination.
In Sanctuary Line, a young entomologist moves into her family’s deserted farmhouse to be near her work and deal with the recent death of her cousin. It concerns four disparate things, said Urquhart — the presence of Mexican migrant workers at Ontario fruit farms; Canadian women’s presence in Afghanistan in a combat role; the death of the family farm; and Monarch butterflies on the edge of Lake Ontario.
Like her protagonist, the writer is also from a farm and makes her home in Northumberland County.
“This is the first book that I’ve written in first-person, from the point of view of a woman ... I found it was emotionally kind of devastating,” she said. “I found it really hard to write, and I still can’t read certain passages aloud.”
While readers “won’t learn anything factual about me” by reading the book, “they might learn a little of my emotional life,” she said.