Afflictions and Departures (Anvil, 2011) is Madline Sonik's collection of essays that explore personal experiences from her youth, spanning from the late 1950s to the 1970s, was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Award in 2012. It later received the ninth annual City of Victoria Butler Book Prize at the Victoria Book Prize Society gala in October, 2012. According to promotional materials, "This is not your traditional memoir. Instead Sonik gives the reader a sense of history how it was lived rather than how it was set down in the history books."

Madeline Sonik is a black cord priestess of 13th House Mystery School and a practicing witch. Her first collection of short fiction, Drying the Bones (Nightwood, 2000), was followed by a first novel entitled Arms (Nightwood, 2002), a tale of healing that doubled as her MFA thesis. Combining Wiccan ritual magic, Gnosticism, and alchemy, Arms is a magic-realist novella that opens with the escape of two teenagers from their warzone of a family home. In a nutshell: When their house blows up, shingles tear off the girl's arms, the brother and sister move into the woods, the boy hides his sister in a shack, he goes back to look for her arms, he gets lost in a city and captured by a man who collects boys and treats them like dogs. A hunter rescues his sister and she follows an extraordinary path of enchantment, marriage, agony, ridicule, ritual and self-realization. Healing comes through words. The girl is told by her arms, "Go. write our story."

Madeline Sonik has co-edited several anthologies including When I Was a Child (Oberon, 2004), Entering the Landscape (Oberon) and Fresh Blood: New Canadian Gothic Fiction (Turnstone Press, 1998). Her children's book is Belinda and the Dustbunnys (Hodgepog Books, 2004), illustrated by Grania Bridal. Sonik's fiction and poetry have appeared in Event, Grain, Pottersfield Portfolio, The New Quarterly, Descant and elsewhere. Born in 1960, she holds an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and has taught at UBC's Creative Writing department while working towards a doctorate in Education.



Belinda and the Dustbunnys (Hodgepog Books, 2004), illustrated by Grania Bridal.

Afflictions and Departures (Anvil, 2011) 978-1-897535-67-7 $20

[BCBW 2012] "Fiction"