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September 2018 Fiction: Canadian

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How I Spent My Summer Holidays
Penguin Modern Classics Edition
By (author): W.O. Mitchell
9780735236042 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Literary Sep 25, 2018
$22.95 CAD
Active 5.2 x 8 x 0.6 in 272 pages McClelland & Stewart
NOW A PENGUIN MODERN CLASSIC: From one of Canada’s most renowned writers, a story of innocence shattered and a boy learning to grapple with the fallout.

From old age, Hugh looks back at the summer of 1924, when he was a twelve-year-old boy in small-town Saskatchewan. When Hugh and his friends dig a secret cave out on the prairie, they find it occupied by a patient who has escaped from the mental hospital. Defying the adult world, the boys become involved with a former war hero and current rum-runner in sheltering and feeding the runaway. But when passions explode into murder, Hugh leaves his boyhood behind him forever.

Publication History: McClelland & Stewart, TR (03/2000)

AN ACCOMPLISHED AUTHOR: W.O. Mitchell was an illustrious personage among Canadian writers, having written across a variety of mediums including novels, plays, and short stories.


W.O. MITCHELL was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, in 1914. He studied at the University of Manitoba and lived most of his life in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Alberta, until he and his wife, Merna, subsequently moved to Calgary, where he would remain for the rest of his life. During a very varied career Bill Mitchell travelled widely and was everything from a Depression hobo to the fiction editor of Maclean’s to a gifted teacher and writing instructor. His best-loved book, Who Has Seen the Wind, was hailed as the greatest Canadian book on boyhood, and complementing that book was his 1981 bestseller How I Spent My Summer Holidays, hailed by some critics as his finest novel. He penned a number of other bestsellers, including Since Daisy Creek (1984), Ladybug, Ladybug…(1988), Roses Are Difficult Here (1990), For Art’s Sake (1992) and The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon (1993)—illustrated by Wesley W. Bates. Besides The Kite (1962) and The Vanishing Point (1973), he was also noted for his two collections of short stories: Jake and the Kid (1962) and According to Jake and the Kid (1989). Mitchell was also a successful playwright whose five plays are included in the collection entitled Dramatic W.O. Mitchell. Among his many awards were the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, awarded for his short story collections. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973 and awarded the Writers Guild of Alberta Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1994. W.O. Mitchell died in February 1998 at his home in Calgary.

Author Website:

“Bawdy and raunchy…an uncannily accurate feel for the emotional viewpoint of a 12-year old boy.”—The Globe and Mail

“Astonishing…. Mitchell turns the pastoral myth of prairie boyhood inside out.”—Toronto Star

“Moving, vivid and exciting…a beautiful, rich and utterly fascinating novel.”—Windsor Star

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