Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Shannon Moroney

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The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Shannon Moroney

Shannon Moroney is a restorative justice advocate and the author of Through the Glass (Doubleday Canada). In the memoir, Shannon relates her experience with the Canadian justice system and media after her husband committed a brutal crime just one month after their wedding.

Today Shannon joins us to as part of The WAR Series: Writers As Readers, which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Read on to hear from Shannon about the books she plans to pass on to her daughters, travelling with banned books and re-reading an iconic Canadian character.

The first book I remember reading on my own:
When I got into chapter books at eight or nine years old, I was drawn to those with strong female protagonists who weren’t content to live with the status quo. Among my favourites were Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Ramona the Brave and Anastasia Krupnik. A few years later, I devoured the Trixie Belden mystery series and all books by Judy Blume. They’re all in a box in the basement, waiting for my daughters.

A book that made me cry:
Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

The first adult book I read:
I was reading adult books by the start of high school and read everything I was assigned, but one I remember choosing on my own is Not Without My Daughter, by Betty Mahmoody. I took it with me when I travelled to Jakarta to live with my aunt and uncle for two months. Only once there did I learn it was banned in Indonesia along with Shindler’s List (also in my suitcase).

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. I read it when it was still an obscure British novel, long before the movie. A colleague gave it to me during a January road-trip to Kapuskasing, while snowed in at a cheap-and-cheerful motel. I remember trying unsuccessfully to contain my laughter so as not to wake her.

The book I have re-read many times:
The Anne of Green Gables series. Most recently, I re-read Anne of Ingleside. It had been years and years, and it was fantastic to relate to Anne in a new way — as a mother. I’d completely forgotten that she had fraternal twin girls, so it was delightful to realize that I now share that in common with my heroine.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’ve spent a great deal of time in Latin America so I feel guilty that I’ve been unable to get into this book despite several attempts.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
The Catcher in the Rye. Thankfully, somebody did give it to me then.

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:
I have always been drawn to books written by ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and I have a long list of memoirs that helped me have the courage to find my own voice. Topping the list are Prisoner of Tehran (Marina Nemat), Dead Man Walking (Sister Helen Prejean), Walking After Midnight (Katy Hutchison) and Reena: A Father’s Story (Manjeet Virk).

The best book I read in the past six months:
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball by Charles Fuge and Vicki Churchill. The main character is a wombat. As the mother of two-year-old twins, I rarely have time to read for myself, but I spent countless hours every week reading dozens of board books with them. Our other current favourites include If I Were a Lion, Stanley’s Party, Lovabye Dragon and Madeline (which I loved as a little girl).

The book I plan on reading next:
I like to read fiction in themes and I’m currently focused on books set in the 1920s and 30s, particularly Paris. I’m almost at the end of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler and loving it. Next, Hemmingway. It’s time.

A possible title for my autobiography:

Shannon Moroney is a restorative justice advocate who speaks internationally on the ripple effects of crime. A volunteer with Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE), she is also a contributor to The Forgiveness Project. She lives in Toronto where she is remarried and the mother of twins. Visit for more information.

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