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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
August 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence


2005: Anne Coleman

The information below is adapted from the news release issued in 2005

A memoir about an engaging and wickedly perceptive girl as she grows into womanhood is the 2005 winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

Anne Coleman’s book, entitled I’ll Tell You A Secret: A Memory of Seven Summers and published by McClelland and Stewart, offers an intriguing view of the sometimes enigmatic Hugh MacLennan, her mentor and an important Canadian literary figure. The voice of the memoir is best described as uncompromising, perceptive and rich with reflection. It proves that MacLennan was accurate in predicting that Coleman would be a fine writer in maturity.

“Anne Coleman, now a matured woman in her sixties, amazingly captures the voice and enthusiasm of her young self, back when she was between 13 and 21 years of age,” said Kathryn Wardropper, administrator of the award. “The judges were thrilled with her writing and Edna, herself, was a strong champion of this title.”

Coleman lives in Victoria, where she is a writer, novice sculptor and lover of the natural world. She was born in Toronto and grew up in Ontario and Quebec. She received a bachelor of arts from McGill University and a master’s degree in English from Bishop’s University. She taught for five years in Westmount, Quebec, and then for 30 at University College of the Cariboo, in Kamloops, British Columbia.

The shortlist for the 2005 Edna Staebler Award also included:

  • A Nurse’s Story: Life, Death and In-Between in an Intensive Care Unit by Tilda Shalof,
  • A Fool and Forty Acres: Conjuring a Vineyard Three Thousand Miles from Burgundy by Geoff Heinricks,
  • Snow Bodies: One Woman’s Life on the Streets by Elizabeth Hudson,
  • The Molly Fire: A Memoir by Michael Mitchell.