In other news…

April 5, 2018

Thrilled to say that A Bird on Every Tree has been shortlisted for this year’s Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction. I’m deeply honoured to share the Raddall list with the brilliant Sarah Faber for her gorgeous novel All is Beauty Now and her husband Oisin Curran for his novel Blood Fable. Only in the Maritimes, you say? I’m sure somewhere in the literary world, maybe in some other place at some other time, a couple has shared making the shortlist for a major fiction award. But this is the first instance I know of, and I’m over the moon for them both! Knowing how many truly great books are published each year by deserving authors who call Atlantic Canada home is humbling indeed, and makes me proud (a ridiculous understatement) to be part of the region’s writing community.

A Circle on the Surface, coming in Fall 2018!

I’m thrilled to be publishing my latest novel with Nimbus Publishing’s Vagrant Press. Set in WW2-era Halifax and a coastal village in Nova Scotia, A Circle on the Surface is the story of a couple trying to make the best of a hasty marriage made under tense circumstances.  Blackouts, shortages and air raid precautions are as normal as margarine. German U-boats lurk just offshore.

Can having a child rescue the marriage, and in the bargain save Enman and Una from themselves?

This is their hope as the pair become embroiled in suspicion and war-mongering hysteria when rumours fly of an enemy crew making landfall, and the discovery of a body reminds everyone of the true cost of war.

A Bird on Every Tree is coming soon

August 30, 2017

Due for release this September, A Bird on Every Tree has been receiving lots of advance praise. In a starred Quill and Quire review, Robert Wiersema says, “Bruneau is a master. We should know this by now, but A Bird on Every Tree is a powerful reminder.” He writes, “…This is a reflection of a writer utterly in touch with her stories–not only what they are, but how they are, overlooking nothing in her craft.”

Publishers Weekly calls the collection “beautifully crafted” and goes on to say, “(Bruneau’s) exceptional prose reveals how much there is to discover in the everyday. These stories empathetically follow characters who struggle with loneliness and loss even as they experience joy.”

Atlantic Books Today praises the book’s “wide range of 12 beautiful and genuine stories, all connected through the considerable pull of Nova Scotia” and notes, “People in these short stories go through the traditional human transitions of love and loss and ultimately, our never-ending search for light and meaning.”

The Miramichi Reader writes, “Each story in A Bird on Every Tree is decidedly larger than the few small pages needed to tell them,” praising Bruneau’s “astounding command of words.”

LocalXpress calls the stories “terse, unforgettable and multi-layered…This writer is deeply connected to humanity in all its flaws and uncertainties.”

The Coast says “Bruneau is a master of imagery” in a collection that “gloriously explores the complex relationship people have with the place they call home.”

What can I say, except that it’s gratifying and humbling beyond words when readers (and reviewers) get what an author is trying to do?

My sincere thanks to all for their kind words.


Happy 2017!

January 7, 2017

Happy 2017!

How far does place go in shaping how we self-identify?
A Bird on Every Tree, coming this fall from Nimbus Publishing’s Vagrant Press, is a collection of stories that explore the problem of situating ourselves, globally and spiritually, between what’s known and what’s unknown, what feels safe and what feels dangerous.


Spring 2016

March 11, 2016

Meanwhile, what’s up for 2016? Some writing, I hope, and more readings. Here are two upcoming events:
The Lorenzo Reading Series, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, 7:00pm April 7, 2016, and an author’s talk at the Women’s Art Association in Toronto, May 11, 2016.

New short-story collection coming in Fall 2017 from Nimbus/Vagrant!

Books Start Here! I’m thrilled to be working with Nimbus on this new collection of twelve stories. Each has Nova Scotia at its heart, exploring how people come and go from the home place to negotiate their larger world–whether that world exists in the imagination or on another continent. Some consider Nova Scotia to be insular and static. But for my characters it’s a location always on the edge–a dynamic, universal edge. It’s the edge that keeps us alive and awake, seeking the ever-shifting happy place in between restlessness and ease, too much ease–between what to one may be a haven and to another, a trap.

Dear Readers

October 29, 2015

These Good Hands has been in bookstores for a while now and those who’ve read it have lots of great things to say. Just what a writer wants to hear! The novel has been recommended by CBC Ottawa’s regular Book Panel, the Toronto Star and the Halifax Chronicle Herald, and I’ve had a busy few months giving readings–in bookstores here and Toronto, at Word on the Street and the Saint Mary’s Reading Series–and visiting bookclubs. In November I’ll be giving a lecture at Toronto’s Heliconian Club on Camille Claudel and the novel’s fictional treatment of her life.
On a more personal note, I’m delighted to say that I’ve been honoured as one of nineteen women receiving this year’s Canadian Progress Club Halifax Chapter’s Women of Excellence Awards for achievement in a variety of fields. Mine is for contributions to arts and culture–a lovely recognition of my twenty-plus years as a writer.

These Good Hands…coming soon to a bookstore near you.

April 16, 2015

I’ll be reading from my new novel, along with Vivien Shotwell, at Lexicon Books’ gala opening on May 1st in Lunenburg. Though copies won’t yet be available, Lexicon will be taking orders. The Halifax launch will be June 3rd, 7-9pm at the Company House on Gottingen Street, with music by The Brood. Come on out and help celebrate! Stay tuned for further details.

Coming this April–

January 17, 2015

Maturity (L'Age Mur), 1895

These Good Hands, a novel inspired by the life of French sculptor Camille Claudel, centres on the artist’s final days in Montdevergues asylum. Ten years in the making, my latest book is the product of extensive research into traditional sculptural practice, the infancy of modern mental healthcare and Vichy rule of occupied France. All this forms the backdrop to Camille’s story–told in a series of letters to a younger, freer self–and the story of her nurse, Solange Poitier, who documents her daily labours in a journal.

After toiling away…

July 1, 2013

A big part of a writer’s life is squirreling away projects, giving them time to breathe and ripen before bringing them out into the open enough to revise and rewrite (and rewrite…) till they’re ready for a reader to enjoy. It can take years for a story to come to fruition, longer still for it to find its way into the necessary hands. I was first inspired to write about Camille Claudel when my very first group of students at NSCAD told me her story. I soon learned there was more to it than its tragedy–her affair with Rodin, her descent into madness, the last 30 years of her life spent in an asylum for the insane. From the beginning it was obvious that her glorious artwork–typical of narrative-based sculpture of Belle Epoque France but with a distinctive, timeless edge–outshone the limits of her biography, certainly the bare bones of it. What followed, for me, were three research trips to France, the first of which landed me in Paris on opening day of the first major exhibition of her work–better late than never, 65 years after her death–and the third of which took me to Poitiers, city of my ancestors, whose museum houses the largest permanent collection of her work. Safe to say, these ten years I’ve been more than a little obsessed.

Meanwhile, also forthcoming this year, are stories in RiddleFenceand a Pottersfield Press anthology of *love stories*–a piece entitled “The Race,” inspired by a friend’s grandmother who was a marathon swimmer, and “The Vagabond Lover,” inspired by my much-loved aunt, now deceased, who lived to be almost 107 and made the most of every minute.

So many inspiring women, so many stories and tales to be told, and never enough time. For the writer, work never stops. I’ve got plenty to occupy me for my next round of writerly hibernation: a new novel about contemporary characters set in Halifax, a fresh collection of short fiction, and a poetry manuscript exploring my French Canadian ancestry, a long line of individuals including one of the original filles du roi.

Oh yes, and my fifth novel, The Offing, set in WW2-era Nova Scotia, is presently being considered for publication. Fingers crossed, my friends!

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