An Orange from Portugal: Christmas Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland

An Orange from Portugal: Christmas Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland

by Anne Simpson, Wayne Johnston, Alden Nowlan, Mary Pratt, David Adams Richards

It's often said that the main export of the Maritimes is Maritimers, and the same is true of Newfoundland. "Going down the road" is a way of life, but so is coming home for Christmas. It is tradition marked by happiness, fun, and sometimes less comfortable emotions. Given the regional penchant for yarn spinning, this common experience yields an


It's often said that the main export of the Maritimes is Maritimers, and the same is true of Newfoundland. "Going down the road" is a way of life, but so is coming home for Christmas. It is tradition marked by happiness, fun, and sometimes less comfortable emotions. Given the regional penchant for yarn spinning, this common experience yields an abundance of stories.

In An Orange from Portugal, editor Anne Simpson takes liberties with the concept of "story" to produce a book bursting with Christmas flavour. Many of her choices are fiction, others are memoirs, tall tales, poems, or essays, and still others defy classification. Some authors are nationally and even internationally famous, some are well known in the region, and others are published here for the first time. Spanning more than a century of seasonal writing, the collection includes a description of killing a pig aboard the sailing ship Argonauta for Christmas dinner; Hugh MacLennan"s Halifax waif who wants nothing more than for Santa to bring him a real orange, an orange from Portugal; a story by Alden Nowlan and another by Harry Bruce giving very different versions of what the animals in the barn do on Christmas Eve; a story about Jewish children hanging up their stockings; and very new work by young writers Lisa Moore and Michael Crummey. Beautiful poems by Lynn Davies, Milton Acorn and others leaven the collection for readers of all persuasions. Other authors include: Wayne Johnston, Mary Pratt, David Adams Richards, Carol Bruneau, Wilfred Grenfeld, L.M. Montgomery, Paul Bowdring, Grace Ladd, Herb Curtis, Joan Clark, Ernest Buckler, Rhoda Graser, Bert Batstone, Elisabeth Harvor, David Weale, Charles G.D. Roberts, Ronald F. Hawkins, Mark Jarman, Elsie Charles Basque, Richard Cumyn, Herménégilde Chiasson, Stan Dragland, Alistair MacLeod and Bernice Morgan.

An Orange from Portugal is a Christmas feast, with the scent of turkey and the sound of laughter wafting from the kitchen, and a flurry of snow outside the window.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Christmas] is a conflict of emotion captured beautifully in this terrific, ranging collection . . . The significance of the orange as the sensuous apotheosis of the season is especially pervasive in the older stories . . . plenty here to warm the cockles of the heart, too, should they require warming . . . Despite its title, the vast majority of these narratives are strong enough to be enjoyed during any season." — Quill &; Quire

Product Details

Goose Lane Editions
Publication date:
Edition description:
First edition
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.68(d)

Meet the Author

Anne Simpson is one of Canada's rising stars. Her story "Dreaming Snow" won the Journey Prize, and her first novel, Canterbury Beach, was a finalist for the Chapters/Robertson Davies Prize and the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Her first poetry collection, Light Falls Through You, won the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the Gerald Lampert Award and was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award; her second, collection, Loop, has just been published. After spending a year as writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, she has returned to her home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Wayne Johnston was born in Goulds, Newfoundland. He has written five novels, of which The Navigator of New York (2002) is the latest. His previous novel, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (1998), was nominated for the most prestigious fiction awards in Canada; it won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize and the Canadian Authors' Association Award for Fiction. His memoir, Baltimore's Mansion (1999), was awarded the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

Alden Nowlan was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1933. Though he was largely self-taught, he was a prolific writer who published poetry, plays, short stories, and novels. He received a Governor General's Award in 1967 for Bread, Wine and Salt (1967), and in the same year won a Guggenheim Fellowship. He became the writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick in 1969, a position he held until his death in 1983.

Mary Pratt's paintings have been exhibited in Canada's most influential galleries and reproduced in magazines. Mary Frances West Pratt was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1935. She attended Mount Allison University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 1957, she married fellow student Christopher Pratt, and moved to Glasgow, Scotland. In 1959, they moved to Newfoundland, where Mary taught painting at Memorial University. During her career, Mary Pratt has steadily built a national recognition for her photo realist paintings and for her active role in cultural affairs.

David Adams Richards. The novels of David Adams Richards put New Brunswick's Miramichi region on the world's literary map. "Small Gifts" is an adaptation by Goose Lane Editions of his screenplay Small Gifts, first broadcast on CBC TV in 1995. Small Gifts won a Gemini Award in 1996 and the 1996 New York International Film Festival Award for Best Screen Play. The adaptation appears here by permission of the author and Goose Lane Editions.

Harry Bruce was born in Toronto and made his home in Nova Scotia from 1971 until his recent move to Moncton, New Brunswick. He is a celebrated essayist, editor, journalist, and writer, with a dozen books to his credit, including An Illustrated History of Nova Scotia (1997) and Down Home: Notes of a Maritime Son (1988). In 1997 he won the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction, nearly twenty years after it was first awarded to him.

Carol Bruneau hails from Halifax. She is the author of two short story collections, After Angel Mill (1995) and Depth Rapture (1998). She is best known for her first novel, Purple for Sky (2000), which won the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Dartmouth Book Award in 2001.

Wilfred Grenfell was born in Parkgate, England, in 1865. He studied medicine and later volunteered to go to Newfoundland and Labrador, where he quickly gained great respect among the people. He established a mission, an orphanage, and a school at St. Anthony, Labrador. His tale Adrift on an Ice Pan (1908, 1992) is an account of how he was stranded overnight on the ice. He died in 1941.

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island, in 1874. Her first novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), was followed by more than twenty others. Long after her death, in 1942, she remains one of Canada's most beloved writers.

Paul Bowdring is a novelist, poet, editor, and teacher; he was born on Bell Island in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. He is the author of two novels, The Roncesvalles Pass (1989) and The Night Season (1997). He was also a long-time editor of TickleAce, a literary magazine. He lives in St. John's Newfoundland.

Grace Ladd was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1864. She spent many years travelling around the world with her husband, Frederick Arthur Ladd, a Nova Scotian sea captain. Their children, Forrest and Kathryn, were raised on board ship. Her letters to her family offer a rich account of a life aboard sailing ships and steamers during the Victorian era.

Herb Curtis was raised near Blackville, on the Miramichi, and now lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick. His collection of short fiction, Luther Corhern's Salmon Camp Chronicles (1999), was nominated for the Stephen Leacock Award. The Last Tasmanian (1991, 2001), one of four novels, garnered the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and was a regional finalist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

Joan Clark was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. She writes novels, short fiction, and novels for young adults. She has won numerous awards, including the Marian Engel Award, the Canadian Authors' Association Literary Award, the Mr. Christie Award, and the Jeffrey Bilson Award. Her most recent novel is Latitudes of Melt (2000). She lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Ernest Buckler was born at Dalhousie West, Nova Scotia, in 1908. Best known for his novel, The Mountain and the Valley (1952), he also wrote short fiction, essays, and a memoir. His work of verse and prose, Whirligig (1977), won the Stephen Leacock Award. He was also awarded several honorary degrees for his contribution to literature. He died in 1984.

Rhoda Graser writes fiction and non-fiction. She was born in Fredericton and lived there during the Depression and World War II. A number of her stories were published in The New Brunswick Reader in 2000. She lives in Toronto.

Bert Batstone, born in 1922, grew up in an isolated Newfoundland hamlet, where, he has said, "life in the village was virtually unchanged from what it had been more than one hundred years before." When he left Newfoundland, he earned degrees from Mount Allison and McGill universities. The Mysterious Mummer and Other Newfoundland Stories was published by Jesperson Press in 1984.

Elisabeth Harvor, a poet, short story writer, and novelist, grew up in New Brunswick's Kennebecasis Valley. One of her three short story collections, Let Me Be the One (1996), was a finalist for the Governor General's Award. She won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for her first book of poetry, Fortress of Chairs (1992). In 2000, she published her first novel, Excessive Joy Injures the Heart.

David Weale, a professor of history at the University of Prince Edward Island, is a master storyteller. He has written six books, among them An Island Christmas Reader (1994) and The True Meaning of Crumbfest (1999). He has toured his stage shows, A Long Way from the Road (1998) and Greenmount Boy (2000), across the Island.

Sir Charles G.D. Roberts was born in Douglas, New Brunswick, in 1860. He attended the University of New Brunswick and later worked as a professor at King's College, situated at that time in Windsor, Nova Scotia. A pre-eminent member of the Confederation Poets, he wa noted for his many poetry books and animal stories, as well as for more traditional fiction and non-fiction. He died in 1943.

Lisa Moore has written for radio and television; she has also written art criticism. She studied at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design in Halifax, and now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. Her first book of short fiction, Degrees of Nakedness (1995), was followed by a second, Open (2002), which was nominated for the Giller Prize.

Ronald F. Hawkins was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick, in 1923. He enlisted in the Carleton Light Infantry when he was only fourteen. By the time he was discharged from the army in 1946, he had seen action in North Africa and throughout Europe. He wrote several books about the war, including We Will Remember Them (1995). He died in 2002.

Elsie Charles Basque was born in 1916. A teacher, elder, and advocate for native culture, she was the first Mi'kmaw in Nova Scotia to obtain a teaching license. She spent much of her life in Boston, and now resides in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia.

Richard Cumyn was born in Ottawa and has lived in Halifax for many years. He has written a novella, The View from Tamischeira (2003), as well as four short story collections, of which The Obstacle Course (2002) is his most recent. He is also Fiction Editor of The Antigonish Review.

Herménégilde Chiasson is a poet, playwright, artist, filmmaker, and statesman. His book of poems Conversations (Éditions d'Acadie, 1998) won the Governor General's Literary Award in 1999. From 2003 to 2009, he was Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick.

Lynn Davies grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick, and spent sixteen years in Nova Scotia before returning to her home province. Her first collection of poetry, The Bridge That Carries the Road (1999), was nominated for the Governor General's Award. She also writes children's stories. She lives in McLeod Hill, New Brunswick, near Fredericton.

Stan Dragland was born in Alberta. He taught at the University of Western Ontario, and after taking early retirement, he moved to St. John's, Newfoundland. He was a founding editor of Brick, A Journal of Reviews, and he also co-founded Brick Books, a poetry press, with Don McKay. He has published fiction, poetry, and literary criticism.

An International Christmas brings together seven stories and eight poems by well-known authors from Canada, the United States, Britain, and Germany. Included is Christmas fiction by Margaret Laurence, Roy MacGregor, Tim Wynne-Jones, Maureen Hull, Annie Dillard, Grace Paley, and Heinrich Böll. It also features poetry by such celebrated Canadian poets as P.K. Page, Milton Acorn, and John Terpstra, as well as Britain's John Julius Norwich and Wendy Cope.

Micheal Crummey is a native of Newfoundland, a poet, short story writer, and novelist. His short story collection is titled Flesh and Blood. The most recent of his three novels, Galore, was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the winner of the 2010 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Novel.

Alistair MacLeod was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in 1936, and grew up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He taught for many years at the University of Windsor. He is known for his short fiction -- As Birds Bring Forth the Sun (1986) and The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) -- and his novel, No Great Mischief (1999). This novel won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2001.

Bernice Morgan was born in 1935 in pre-Confederation Newfoundland. She is best known for her two novels, Random Passage (1992) and Waiting for Time (1994). Random Passage was made into a mini-series for CBC television. Her most recent book is The Topography of Love (2000). She lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Hugh MacLennan was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia in 1907. A novelist and essayist, he became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and later completed a PhD in classics at Princeton. He won the Governor General's Award more often than any other writer: three times for fiction and twice for non-fiction. His best-known novels are Barometer Rising (1941), Two Solitudes (1945), and The Watch that Ends the Night (1959). He died in 1990.

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