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University of Alberta Press: Spring 2018

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CLC Kreisel Lecture Series
Wisdom in Nonsense
Invaluable Lessons from My Father
By (author): Heather O'Neill Introduction by: Kit Dobson
9781772123777 Paperback, Trade English General Trade BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary Figures Jan 19, 2018 Print Run: 6000
$11.95 CAD
Active 5.5 x 8 x 0.25 in 64 pages The University of Alberta Press Canadian Literature Centre / Centre de littérature canadienne
I broke all the rules that my dad gave me. It was he who had given me, in part, the confidence to think of my life as being worthy to mix with those of the geniuses. —Heather O’Neill With generosity and wry humour, novelist Heather O’Neill recalls several key lessons she learned in childhood from her father: memories and stories about how crime does pay, why one should never keep a diary, and that it is good to beware of clowns, among other things. Her father and his eccentric friends—ex-bank robbers and homeless men—taught her that everything she did was important, a belief that she has carried through her life. O’Neill’s intimate recollections make Wisdom in Nonsense the perfect companion to her widely praised debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals (HarperCollins).

Heather O’Neill is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Her work, which includes Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, Daydreams of Angels, and The Lonely Hearts Hotel, has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, The Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and has won CBC Canada Reads, The Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. She lives in Montreal.

Kit Dobson is an Associate Professor of English at Mount Royal University. He teaches and publishes in the areas of Canadian literature, film, and globalization studies.

"[Heather O'Neill's] father shared hard-earned wisdom culled from early years as a petty criminal through to his work as a kind of philosopher-janitor. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm for dispensing life advice was in direct opposition to its practical application. But it certainly makes for good reading.... [This] collection, like all of her work, is filled with humour, moments of joy, sudden bursts of deep emotion and heartbreaking sincerity... The lesson in Wisdom in Nonsense is how a writer uses autobiography to inform fiction." - Michael Melgaard, National Post

# 7 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, April 15, 2018

...a warm and funny collection of memories of O’Neill’s dad, a single parent. Look up Wisdom In Nonsense. Buy it. Give it to your own father. He will understand, and it will bring you closer. - Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter

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