Afghani flight to freedom

Shahnaz Qayumi (left) writes about the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and details life under Taliban rule for young readers in her latest novel.FULL STORY


Bowen Island remembered

November 30th, 2015

While living in Telkwa, B.C., Joan Haggerty has completed a novel with a long incubation period, The Dancehall Years (Mother Tongue 2016). Slated for publication in June, it’s a distinctly British Columbian family saga that follows the reverberations of the forced evacuation of Japanese Canadians from the coast. Young Gwen Killam has enjoyed her idyllic summers on Bowen Island until she can’t fathom the sudden disappearance of her swimming teacher Takumi Yoshito, along with his parents who have had a solid reputation as gardeners on the island. The novel traces family dynamics from the Depression, to Pearl Harbour, to the 1980s.

Haggerty, Joan northern vistaBorn in Vancouver in 1940, Joan Haggerty spent her formative years “on the coast in cedars and salt water,” graduating from University of British Columbia with a B.A. in English and Theatre in 1962. For the next ten years she lived in England, France, Spain and New York City. During this period she wrote and published a non-fiction book about teaching, Please, Miss, Can I Play God?: Notes and Sketches on an Adventure in Dramatic Play (London: Methuen, 1966; New York: Bobbs-Merril, 1968). This was followed by an experimental feminist novel about childbirth, Daughters of the Moon (Bobbs-Merril, 1971), that was praised by Marge Piercy and John Irving.

Joan Haggerty returned to B.C. where she taught in Roberts Creek, Vancouver and Houston, B.C. In 1994 she published The Invitation (Douglas & McIntyre), a memoir about re-uniting with the child she gave up for adoption. It was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 1994.


Please, Miss, Can I Play God?: Notes and Sketches on an Adventure in Dramatic Play (London: Methuen, 1966; New York: Bobbs-Merril, 1968)

Daughters of the Moon (Bobbs-Merril, 1971)

The Invitation (Douglas & McIntyre 1994)

The Dancehall Years (Mother Tongue $24.95) June 2016 460 pages 978-1-896949-54-3 • paperback

3 Responses to “Bowen Island remembered”

  1. Cathryn Rankin says:

    Joan’s family had a cottage on Bowen beside the one we rented for several years. She was my first mentor besides my parents; the sheer delight of skipping and dancing down the road, making up songs, laughing, playing, creating … she was made of that and brought it out in me! She was the swimming teacher plus plus in that she taught us arts & crafts, took big gangs of us on hikes, ran community dances and well, I idolized her and will never forget her. I love “The Dancehall Years”; it has deeply touched me. Cathryn

  2. Alice says:

    My kids had Miss Haggerty as a teacher. They both thought very highly of her. One of them, currently working on phd, says that she was the person who taught him how to write. Thank you Joan. Job well done.

  3. Steve Pretious says:

    That’s my famous and brilliant Auntie. She is an incredible person and is full of warmth and kindness. Anyone would be lucky to come close to be like her.

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