Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Southminster United Church15 Aylmer Avenue

One on One with Wayne Johnston

Hosted by CBC's Adrian Harewood

One on One with Wayne Johnston

Hosted by CBC's Adrian Harewood
Southminster United Church
15 Aylmer Avenue
Nancy Williams
Wayne Johnston - Photo by Mark Raynes Roberts 2017

Join us for a reading and on-stage conversation with one of Canada’s most acclaimed, beloved storytellers. The Son of a Certain Woman is Wayne Johnston ’s funniest, sexiest novel yet, controversial in its issues, wise, generous and then some in its depiction of humanity. 


Percy Joyce, born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the fifties is an outsider from childhood, set apart by a congenital disfigurement. Taunted and bullied, he is also isolated by his intelligence and wit, and his unique circumstances: an unbaptized boy raised by a single mother in a fiercely Catholic society. Soon on the cusp of teenagehood, Percy is filled with yearning, wild with hormones, and longing for what he can’t have—wanting to be let in...and let out. At the top of his wish list is his disturbingly alluring mother, Penelope, whose sex appeal fairly leaps off the page. Everyone in St. John’s lusts after her—including her sister-in-law, Medina; their paying boarder, the local chemistry teacher, Pops MacDougal; and...Percy.


Percy, Penelope, and Pops live in the Mount, home of the city’s Catholic schools and most of its clerics, none of whom are overly fond of the scandalous Joyces despite the seemingly benign protection of the Archbishop of Newfoundland himself, whose chief goal is to bring “little Percy Joyce” into the bosom of the Church by whatever means necessary. In pursuit of that goal, Brother McHugh, head of Percy’s school, sets out to uncover the truth behind what he senses to be the complicated relationships of the Joyce household. And indeed there are dark secrets to be kept hidden: Pops is in love with Penelope, but Penelope and Medina are also in love—an illegal relationship: if caught, they will be sent to the Mental, and Percy, already an outcast of society, will be left without a family. 


Copies of The Son of a Certain Woman and selected backlist titles will be available on-site. A booksigning will follow the event.



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