Many in Newfoundland and Labrador can be heard uttering the expression “some people’s children” from time to time.
One of College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) instructors hopes that when they do, her latest novel immediately comes to mind.
Bridget Canning is an instructor of Academic Communications at CNA’s Prince Philip Drive Campus. She is also an award-winning author.
Her second novel, Some People’s Children, was a finalist for the 2020 BMO Winterset Award and the Thomas Raddall Fiction Award.
“It feels both humbling and satisfying,” said Bridget. “Most writing awards are decided upon by juries of other writers, so it feels good to be recognized by your peers.”
Some People’s Children, which is set in Newfoundland and Labrador, is currently one of four local books selected for NL Reads 2022.
“Some People’s Children is kind of best described as a coming-of-age story about coming to terms,” she explained.
The plot follows the formative years of the protagonist, Imogene Tubbs, and takes place in the late 80s/early 90s. The novel starts when Imogene gets an inkling that what’s she’s been told about her father (whom she’s never met) is a lie and many in her community believe her father is actually the local drug dealer/bootlegger. The story follows Imogene as she tries to figure out who she is versus who people say she is.
Bridget says she hopes her work will take her readers on an adventure.
“I want what I think most writers want: for the reader to be taken on a journey and be moved,” she said. “I believe that the main purpose of most art is to build empathy – in the way it makes us think about humanity. So, it would be my hope that readers consider the characters’ points of view and the time they’re living in and how really, that’s all anyone has.”
Her first novel, The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes, also met with critical acclaim when it was published by Breakwater Books in 2017. It was named a finalist for the 2018 BMO Winterset Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, the 2018 NL Book Award for Fiction and nominated for the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award. It is currently optioned for film.
Bridget has been with CNA since 2010 and has worked at four different campuses: Burin, Clarenville, Seal Cove and Prince Philip Drive. When she is not teaching or writing, she says she enjoys hiking, cooking and reading.
“I’ve also written short stories, articles for local media and for film and stage,” she said.
Bridget says her writing allows her to explore things that scare her.
“Often, I’m inspired by what frightens me because it allows me to process those feelings – my first novel is about someone who stops a mass shooting,” she said. “I’m inspired by current events quite a bit.”
Originally from Highlands, NL, she said she would encourage others to pursue their passions.
“As a career, writing can take all kinds of forms. One should ask themselves why they write or why they want to write,” she said. “If you love stories and are compelled to write them, why not?”
For more information about programs at CNA, visit: https://www.cna.nl.ca.
For more information about Canning and her work, visit http://www.bridgetcanning.com.