A tribute to my grandmother

Interview with the author by Glenn P. Booth

those days follows a young immigrant teenager who is sent to Winnipeg to work as a maid for the wealthy. What made you write a story on this topic? Was anything extracted from her life experiences?

My grandmother was a Ukrainian immigrant on the Canadian prairies in the early 20th century. After my mother died just before I was 14the birthday, I lived with my grandmother and she told me stories about “Them Days”. As I got older, I realized that she owed my grandmother a debt of gratitude for putting up with me when I was a difficult teenager, and her stories stayed with me. When I started researching the period, I realized how difficult and interesting it was in Canadian history and how poorly Ukrainians were treated. So the novel is a tribute to my grandmother, her family, and the tens of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants who persevered and helped make Canada the country it is today.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to make sure you captured the essence of the story’s theme?

I did considerable reading on the internment of Ukrainians in Canada during World War I, on Winnipeg during the war, on the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, and on the great general strike in Winnipeg. I also visited pioneering museums, watched documentaries, and talked to older relatives who also had memories of farm life from their parents.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

First, the extreme discrimination experienced by Ukrainians and other Eastern European immigrants at the hands of English Canadians. The degree of discrimination was shocking, as evidenced by editorials in major newspapers of the time that referred to them as “scum”, recommended locking them up in labor camps and deporting them without recourse to any legal rights, all recommendations that the Government of Canada implemented!

Second, the resilience of Ukrainians to endure the hardships of pioneer life in harsh terrain in the harsh winters of the Canadian prairies, followed by the continuing discrimination they faced in their daily lives as they moved to cities. They persevered and finally succeeded despite everything.

What is the next book you are working on and when will it be available?

It’s a starting point for me, as it’s a book for young teens based on the life cycle of a robin. I hope it will be available by fall 2023, but I have to finish writing it first!

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Discrimination, war in Europe, pandemic. . .

Sofiya, a young Ukrainian immigrant, experiences all this and more. She might be 2022, but she is Manitoba in the early 20th century.

Sofiya is the third child in a row born on a poor farm near Gimli in 1903. She is bright and feisty, but nothing more is expected of her than to be a domestic servant, and at thirteen she is sent as a servant to a wealthy family in Winnipeg. . There, she experiences the condescension of the English towards the ‘Bohunks’, while her half-brother is interned during World War I, considered an enemy alien.

While the Great War is being waged in Europe, an undeclared war between the classes is being waged at home. This conflict comes to a head in the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 when the working classes rise up against their English masters, lock down the city and demand a better deal. The city is divided and everyone must choose a side.

Them Days takes you on Sofiya’s journey, as she discovers what it means to be an immigrant and a woman, struggling to find love and her identity, at the same time that Canada is breaking free from the shackles of Mother England’s apron.

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