Acclaimed novelist Jane Urquhart returns to Stratford for Forum Speaker event

Jane Urquhart (Credit Mark Raynes) When originally commissioned by publisher HarperCollins Canada to write her “birthday gift” to Canada, Jane Urquhart very quickly had a few objects in mind. The book – inspired by the British Museum’s History of the World in 100 Objects exhibit – was envisioned as a series of vignettes on particularly Canadian artifacts that would reflect the then-upcoming sesquicentennial. “I thought it was a lovely idea,” Urquhart said Thursday during an interview from Sechelt, B.C. But Urquhart’s book, A Number of Things, proved more of a challenge than the acclaimed novelist had anticipated. While the overall experience – the travel and research and writing – was “enlarging” for the author, there was much about these 50 objects that was “unsettling.” A Number of Things became both a celebration – and an unflinching look – at our country, making these evocatively written essays a kind of unconventional history of Canada. “They wanted my personal perspective,” Urquhart said. “With that in mind, I started by just paying attention to the things that, over the years, had intrigued me” The first object in mind was a leather legging from the now-extinct Beothuk First Nation. One of the more […]

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