Winter’s Tales Authors’ Reading Series


Katherine Govier, one of Canada’s most popular and admired fiction writers, will read from her new novel The Ghost Brush, on Wednesday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. A reception and book signing will follow. Her reading is sponsored by the UPEI English Department and Canada Council for the Arts, and co-hosted by the Art Gallery.

In The Ghost Brush, a powerful saga of 19th century Japan, the main character Oei, daughter of the great Japanese painter and printmaker Hokusai, emerges from her historical role as her father’s assistant and companion, into her bittersweet role as a pioneering female artist. Courageous, long-suffering, and fiercely determined to serve both her father and her own artistic gifts, Oei is an unforgettable character and voice. Govier achieves the miracle of the best fiction: Oei and Hokusai are so vivid and moving that they become a real people, vital for the reader’s experience. Joy Kogawa, author of Obasan, writes that “Katherine Govier was born to write this book….It’s as if she was channeling Oei.”

Japan at the end of its feudal era and beginning of its entrance into the modern world also comes brilliantly alive, through Govier’s exquisite language and mastery of dramatic scenes. From Japan’s teeming cities to its mountainous realms, Govier transports her readers to a place and time we imagine as if we are living there, encountering artists and samurai, beggars and merchants, concubines and shoguns. The Ghost Brush is more than a splendid historical novel; it is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit, to loyalty and love in the face of exploitation and betrayal, and to the triumph of creativity against formidable odds.


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