Nominated by:

Jamaica Library Service, Kingston

Publisher of nominated edition:

Cormorant Books Inc., Canada

Dancing Lessons

Olive Senior    

2013 Longlist

Gertrude Samphire’s long life in Jamaica has been, thus far, a lonely train ride: between her childhood raised as an outcast by cold and distant relatives, to her courtship and eventual marriage to a neglectful husband, to her time single-handedly raising children who are eventually taken from her — in one way or another — or drift away on their own, it’s no wonder Gertrude has focused mainly on self-preservation.

After her house is damaged by a hurricane, she is sent by her estranged eldest daughter, Celia, to Ellesmere Lodge, a retirement home for the elite. At first, her stay feels like yet another stranding — until Gertrude discovers freedom she never had before: to write; to dance; to experience friendship; and to look back on her life with fresh eyes and realize how she was wronged and how she has wronged

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Olive Senior is the prizewinning author of a dozen books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Her short story collection Summer Lightning (Longman, 1986) won the inaugural Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, and her poetry collection Over the Roofs of the World (Insomniac, 2005) was a finalist for the 2005 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry. Born in Jamaica, she has travelled widely and now spends most of her time in Jamaica and Toronto.

Librarian’s Comments

Dancing Lessons is an ingeniously crafted story about a journey of self from silence to speech using the art of dancing.

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