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Madeleine Thien Wins Literary Awards for her Novel

Novelist Madeleine Thien won Canada’s literary awards for fiction with her work Do Not Say We Have Nothing. The book also was nominated for the Man Booker prize sometime back and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2016.

For Thien, the journey has been nothing short of amazing. Thien and her family are Malaysian-Chinese immigrants and live in Montreal. The novel portrays the life of a family of musicians in China’s tragic and tumultuous 20th Century history based on the incident of the 1989 Tiananmen Square.

But before the incident becomes integrated with the main plot of the story, the reader is taken back in time spanning over hundred pages. The extraordinary novel is more than 450 pages and the plot progresses in a complicated manner with a nonlinear approach. But the flow is smooth and the readers sail fluently as the story develops. As for today, there are a lot of activities apart from books reading, for example, if you are fond of games playing you can try out one of the trusted Canadian source ValleyGames entertainment advisor. This website provides a wide variety of popular Canadian online casino reviews. But still, if your hobby is book reading, you will certainly like the plot of the Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

What is the Story About?

The main characters of the story feature multiple generations of the musician family who face the sad upheavals of the time. They are convicted as Rightists at the time of the Cultural Revolution when the red squad unleashed terror on culture and attacked everything Western. The European music style and instruments utilized by the musicians burn under red fury and in 1966 more than 500 pianos were destroyed in the Shanghai Conservatory.

Sparrow, the son of the patriarch and former communist soldier Ba Lute must stop his brilliant musical compositions and join as a factory worker producing radios. He has to give up on music which makes him numb and cold to life and everything that is happening around him. Sparrow turns into a bird with broken wings.

The situation is really oppressive and tragic for China with hundreds of musicians being sent to prison camps or getting compelled to take their own lives on the face of communist harassments.

The story progresses with sheer brilliance and the reader is taken on a journey twenty years later into the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. This rekindles a beat within Sparrow and he is caught in a moment of heroism which leads to a series of heart-wrenching consequences. The joyful anticipation that one gets from protesting was soon devastated by the mayhem that was unleashed upon the student activists.

What would you love about the book?

Thein crafts the situation like an expert and the right amount of emotion which does not take the reader away from the important parts of the plot.

Her story flows like a music which gives a forbidding mood to the plot like a background score. History is presented accurately over the plot of the story and she weaves fiction with reality to produce a sublime work of truth and conscience. Behind the lines of the story, there is a message to embrace personal freedom as best as one can. It’s a message that we all can identify with more than ever today.

Literary events in Canada

The Writers Union of Canada is the sole organization which funds different small and large literary events in Canada. This is one of the best ways to promote cultural harmony according to the organization. It is because such events keep everyone closer and people from different backgrounds mingle. There are many such events which take place throughout Canada. If an event is being planned privately then too it is important to get NOC from the Writers Union of Canada. These events also planned in such a manner that the best talent comes forth. From crime story listening to poetry gatherings, there are several types of such events which take place in Canada. Not all literary events in Canada are national in nature. There are some events which are state or province based. Such events surpass national events in number. Some of the important events which are worth mentioning in this regard are stated as under:

Elephant Mountain Literary Festival (Nelson)

It is a small event which takes place at British Columbia. The local writers get exposure as every year it is surely attended by one of the renowned artists. The local writing community comes together to share ideas and get manuscripts proof read. There are many auxiliary events which take place at the same time. Elephant Mountain Literary Festival is a real boon for upcoming writers because it is limited to a certain area and also lets the writers put forward proposals. This event is also known for its lightning ambiance which is done in a striking manner.


It is the best event which Canadian writers enjoy and take full advantage of over the course of 10 days. The best part is that not only national but international writers come together for a better Canadian writing culture. The Canadian youth is thought to be away from reading and writing.

This event makes sure that this gap is filled effectively. Wordfest also hosts several book fairs which increase sales and revenue of renowned Canadian publishing companies. The festival is geared towards Canadian youth. In total 70 events take place over the course of time which means abundant opportunities for all looking to quench their literary thirst.

Word on the Street

Though this one is not as old as the other ones on the list the impact it has is significant. Word on the street takes place in Saskatoon each year and is attended by writers from all over the world. The roster of the event is made in such a manner that each and every writer gets ample time for discussion and idea sharing. The publishing companies also sign contracts with new writers and make sure that good pay scales are offered. Also known as WOTS this event gathers book lovers from all over Canada. The exhibitions in this regard also pave a way for the book lovers to get their hands on the best literary work of new writers. It is surely a platform which enables the writers to find their best side. It also creates a level of trust between the publishers and writers.