An Homage To My Grandmother

Glenn P. Booth Author Interview

Them Days follows a young immigrant teen who is sent to Winnipeg to work as a maid for the wealthy. What made you write a story about this topic? Was anything pulled from your life experiences?

My grandmother was a Ukrainian immigrant to the Canadian Prairies in the early 1900s. After my mother died just before my 14th birthday, I lived with my grandmother and she used to tell me stories about “Them Days”. As I got older, I realized that I had a debt of gratitude to my grandmother for putting up with me as a difficult teen, and her stories stuck with me. When I started to research the period I realized just what a difficult and interesting time it was in Canadian history and how badly the Ukrainians were treated. So the novel is an homage to my grandmother, to her family and to the tens of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants who persevered and helped build Canada into the country it is today.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the story’s theme?

I did considerable reading on the internment of the Ukrainians in Canada during WW1, on Winnipeg during the war, on the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and on the great Winnipeg General Strike. I also visited pioneer museums, watched documentaries and talked to older family members who also had memories from their parents about life on the homestead.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Firstly, the extreme discrimination experienced by the Ukrainian and other eastern European immigrants at the hands of the English Canadians. The degree of discrimination was shocking, as evidenced by the leading newspaper editorials of the day which routinely referred to them as ‘scum’, recommended locking them up in labour camps, and deportation without recourse to any legal rights – all recommendations which the Government of Canada implemented!

Secondly, the resilience of the Ukrainians to endure the hardships of pioneer life on hardscrabble ground in the bitter winters of the Canadian Prairies, followed by the ongoing discrimination they faced in their daily lives when they moved to the cities. They persevered and eventually succeeded despite everything.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

It is a departure for me in that it is a book for young adolescents based on the lifecycle of a robin. I hope it will be available by the fall of 2023, but I need to finish writing it first!

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Discrimination, war in Europe, a pandemic. . .

Sofiya, a young Ukrainian immigrant, experiences all of this and more. It could be 2022, but it’s Manitoba in the early 1900s.

Sofiya is the third consecutive girl born on a poor homestead near Gimli in 1903. She is bright and feisty but nothing more is expected of her than to be a domestic, and at age thirteen she is sent to be a maid to a wealthy family in Winnipeg. There, she experiences the condescension of the English towards the ‘Bohunks’, while her half-brother is interned during WW1, deemed an enemy alien.

While the Great War is raging in Europe, an undeclared war between the classes is being fought at home. This conflict comes to a head in the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 when the working classes rise up against their English masters, shut down the city and demand a better deal. The city is divided and everyone must choose a side.

Them Days takes you on Sofiya’s journey, as she discovers what it means to be an immigrant and a woman, struggling to find love and her identity – at the same time that Canada is breaking free from Mother England’s apron strings.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on November 6, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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