Sask. author's debut novel to be discussed at Reading Town event

Lisa Goudy
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Saskatchewan author Anne Lazurko will be on hand to discuss her first novel, Dollybird at the Great Big Book Club set for May 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Public Library. The event is part of Reading Town Canada and also presented by the Saskatchewan Festival of Words.

Saskatchewan author Anne Lazurko can’t wait to hear peoples’ opinions at the Great Big Book Club in Moose Jaw.

“It’s always interesting the things that book club members pick up that I never thought of or never saw in a particular way. So that always makes it a really interesting discussion, I find as the author,” she said.

Lazurko’s first novel, Dollybird, will be the subject of discussion at the book club set for May 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Public Library. She will be on hand to discuss her novel at the event, which is part of Reading Town Canada and also presented by the Saskatchewan Festival of Words.

“I’m really excited to be part of that,” she said. “It’s different than a reading because it is run as a book club discussion and so I’m really hoping that the participants will have some ideas and questions, as well about the book, which is always a lot of fun.”

Her novel is about a woman named Moira who is an aspiring physician in 1906. She is banished from the East Coast to the Prairies to avoid shame because she is pregnant. Coming from a sophisticated background, she becomes destitute and needs to take a job she can.

It is written from the point of view of two protagonists, Moira and a man named Dillan who came west to find prosperity.

“Moose Jaw is central to a lot of the comings and goings of these people because the heart of trains came to Moose Jaw and people dispersed from there,” said Lazurko. “There are some mentions of Moose Jaw and its importance to the whole idea of the homesteading culture.”

 She came up with the idea for her book while doing research for the Missouri Coteau region where she came across the term dollybird.

“A dollybird in that area was a young woman who went to set up house for a homesteader, but their role in the community was always questioned because they were single and out there in the middle of nowhere on the homestead,” said Lazurko. “I really wondered about that and who took these jobs and who were these women.”

In addition to some freelance writing she also does, Lazurko is “well into” another novel.

Currently she is discussing with the moderators the types of things she’ll touch on at the book club. The moderators are Beth and Hannah Elich.

“There’s the obvious themes that come out of or are part of a book,” said Lazurko. “Some of them in Dollybird are discussions of vulnerability of women of that time, making choices and how to find joy in the choices that the characters do make even under life-altering circumstances.”

Cost is free for the event, but pre-registration is required by April 30. There is a limit of 30 participants. Drop-ins will only be considered if there is space. All participants are expected to read the book prior to the event.

The book can be purchased at the Festival of Words office located on the second floor of the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre. To register or to obtain more information, contact the festival office at 306-691-0557 or email

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Great Big Book Club, Moose Jaw Public Library, Reading Town Canada Moose Jaw Cultural Centre

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, East Coast Missouri Coteau

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