The first full-length novel published by Weyburn author Anne Lazurko, “Dollybird”, has been nominated for a Saskatchewan Book Award for 2014.
In the awards for writers, Dollybird is up against two other contenders in the category, SaskPower Fiction Award. The other nominees include “Just Pretending”, by Lisa Bird-Wilson, and “Swedes’ Ferry” by Allan Safarik; all three were published by Coteau Books.
“It’s very gratifying,” said Lazurko of the award nomination. “I’ve gotten lots of feedback from people who’ve read it. To be acknowledged with a nomination is a very nice thing to have happen.”
She noted the organizers of the Saskatchewan Book Awards do a good job of promoting the books which have been nominated, as well as getting information out to the public about the nominees.
“I’ve gotten a lot of response from people I know and people I don’t know, people who’ve phoned me out of the blue. They’ve said they really enjoyed the book. I’ve had a lot of people say they’d like to see a sequel,” said Lazurko, adding with a laugh she’s not sure that’s going to happen. She is currently working on a new book project.
Dollybird is set in Saskatchewan’s earliest days, in 1906, and is the story of how a 20-year-old woman named Moira is sent to the prairies by her family on the East Coast, and she ends up working as a “dollybird” to make ends meet. The term referred to a woman who works as a housekeeper for a homesteader, but the term also carried a negative connotation about the woman’s morality.
Lazurko said the response to her novel has been very positive, and she’s done readings in different communities and for different groups, including with a group of writers who posed some difficult questions to her about the writing process, and most recently she did a reading in Regina as part of the “Vertigo Series” at a cafe.
Coming up she’ll have a reading in Saskatoon along with author Lauren Carter from Manitoba, and she’ll be part of a book club’s full-day gathering in Moose Jaw just prior to the Festival of Words.
“It’s been a really good run. Weyburn has been great to me, and a lot of people have bought the book,” said Lazurko.
The awards ceremony for the Saskatchewan Book Awards will be held on Saturday, Apr. 26 at the Conexus Arts Centre.