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Black Apple


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About the Author

Joan Crate was born in Yellowknife, North-west Territories, and was brought up with pride in her Indigenous heritage. She taught literature and creative writing at Red Deer College, Alberta, for over 20 years. Her first book of poetry, Pale as Real Ladies: Poems for Pauline Johnson, has become a classic. Her first novel, Breathing Water, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Award (Canada) and the Books in Canada First Novel Award in 1989. She is a recipient of the Bliss Carman Award for Poetry and her last book of poetry, SubUrban Legends, was awarded Book of the Year by the Writers' Guild of Alberta. She lives with her family in Calgary.


"Black Apple describes life in a prairie residential school in the 1940s and 50s, in all its heartbreaking complexity. It is a compelling and powerful novel, with beautifully rendered characters, and a lyricism that speaks to Joan Crate's background as a poet. An extraordinary achievement."--Helen Humphreys, author of The Reinvention of Love and The Evening Chorus
"Black Apple is an achievement, a novel that examines the complexities of the residential school system from the point of view of women, including a young girl who is ripped from her family and an aging Catholic nun who has seen it all. This story of girls, women and the system that controls them grips from the very first pages."--Dianne Warren, author of Cool Water, winner of the Governor General's Award
"Joan Crate has written a story that will capture reader's hearts within the first chapter. . . . Black Apple is an emotional powerhouse. Crate's poetic style of writing adds uniqueness and beauty into a story that is full of repression, loss and the aftermath of these girls who come out of St. Mark's with no real sense of self. . . . Black Apple joins the continuing effort to break the silence of Canada's residential schools and bring the truth to light. This may be just a work of fiction, but the story inside is a must read for all of Canada."--Red Deer Advocate
"Joan Crate's story of a Blackfoot girl's childhood and adolescence spent at a residential school is a strong addition to the body of literature that grows in the wake of this shameful history. . . . Crate's use of nature imagery to create Rose's internal world showcases her poetic talent and effectively delineates the divide between Rose's cultural values and those of the western European world into which she's been swallowed. . . . Black Apple has an important place on the shelf... demonstrating the cathartic power of literature to teach, reflect and possibly heal."--Winnipeg Free Press
"Crate... effectively evokes the emotional trauma of [a] young girl's separation from her mother, father, and younger brother, as well as the harrowing disorientation of her life at St. Mark's. . . . . Black Apple [is] both timely and welcome."--Quill & Quire
"Crate's beginnings as a poet are in evidence as she invokes the cold Prairie winters... and the strict, sterile environment of the school. . . . Black Apple should certainly spur discussion. And that, for a society still struggling to come to terms with a shared and troubled history, is its gift."--Toronto Star

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