Just in: Canadian Stories 1st Prize

A Greenhorn Teacher by Oriole Vane Veldhuis

Volume 25 No.143 February/March 2022

Oriole has been using this time of isolation to tell her own stories of growing up in Manitoba. Check the link on her blog or go to the Canadian Stories website.

The highest ‘Reward’ is for Elise’s descendants to meet their amazing ancestor. They lived over a 100 years with a shameful secret laid on them by a selfish and privileged British male. Many are deeply moved by Elise’s story which shines a light on many pioneer women’s lives. Her true story is inspirational as it is sad. Readers say, “Thank you.”

For Elise was published July, 2012, It is now in its 4th printing with over 3,000 copies sold. It is available through the public library system. Publishers estimate four readers for every book sold so if my math is correct that would be over 12,000 people now know a women who had vanished into the mists of history. My German relatives exclaim, ‘Wunderbar!’; my English family, ‘How extraordinary!’

Historical Award—in local history, 2012.

The Manitoba Historical Society awarded For Elise, the Margaret McWilliams Award
I accepted the honour on behalf of the Vane family and the many friends who supported me and made it possible to publish this ‘secret breaking’ account of Elise Harrer’s sacrificial life.

Whistler Independent Book Awards 2016 Finalist

I chose to self-published my book and did so with a great deal of advice and support.  In March, 2016, the Manitoba Writer’s Guild newsletter announced the Inaugural Whistler Independent Book Award.  I entered For Elise and as one of three finalists I attended the festival. It was a most rewarding experience. I thank Vivalogue Publishing Canada Ltd. for recognizing the talent of independent writers and their need for recognition.

Reaching the finals is a huge reward that has brought a whole bundle of new experiences. I am blessed indeed.

Members of the Vancouver Chapter of the Canadian Authors’ Association selected the finalists according to four criteria: Ideas/Organization/Content, Style/Voice, Word Choice/Sentence Fluency and Conventions/Production Values.

For Elise, received 93 out of 100 points.
The group’s summary of the book follows:
This compelling story is at times almost too painful to be read. But it uncovers women’s history that, as Veldhuis describes, “disappears like meals placed before hungry men.”  The content is rich in many ways: family ties, Canadian history, class structures perpetuated by settlers, etc. This is a story that cannot easily be forgotten. Its rich detail and personal style create the power for it to become a classic in print, and perhaps as a stage or screen play. The narrative and primary sources are seamlessly woven into a story that keeps the reader on the edge with Elise and her family. The design and format of the book will appeal to readers of history and women’s studies.