Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

Anvil Press

Queasy: a wannabe writer's bumpy journey through England in the '70s

Queasy: a wannabe writer's bumpy journey through England in the '70s

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The award-winning author of Afflictions & Departures turns her kaleidoscopic lens on England in the 1970s in Queasy, a series of linked memoirs. While still grieving her father’s death and the end of her first romantic relationship, Madeline Sonik moved with her mother from Windsor, Ontario to the seaside village of Ilfracombe in North Devon, England.

As a teen at war with herself, nothing could have prepared her for the incredible cultural differences that she would encounter, nor the social and political tumult that was England at the time — trade union strikes, mass unemployment, IRA violence, and crippling taxes.

Waiting tables and working as a chambermaid at local hotels, she talked politics among friends and workmates, with hot cups of tea throughout the day and pints of lager in the evening. Margaret Thatcher — the “Iron Lady” — loomed large as opposition leader and was fast gaining popularity, even amongst segments of the working class. The country seemed poised on the cusp of change and a new direction.

It was in this unlikely crucible of hope and despair, of promise and discord where the author found the sustenance to fuel her development as a person and as a writer.

PRAISE FOR QUEASY:
“… such is the breadth and range of Sonik’s interests, that she goes far, far beyond the “70’s” in evoking the ocean of social and cultural facts around the tiny island of her ignorant teenaged self: from the perspective of a much expanded time and place, her brutal experience with sexual assault, for example, forms the kernel of perspectives stretching from Victorian attitudes towards rape right up to the contemporary #MeToo movement. […] a moving reflection on time, self, who we were and who we become, even how we fade into the future.”
— The British Columbia Review


  • Publication: June 1, 2022
  • ISBN: 978-1-77214-189-4
  • Pages: 320 pp.
  • Size: 5.75 x 8.75 inches

Madeline Sonik is a teacher, writer, and editor. Her work has been published extensively in journals, magazines, and academic anthologies. Her literary nonfiction title, Afflictions & Departures (memoir/essays), won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize, was a Finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction, and was nominated for the BC National Award for Canadian non-Fiction. Her other books include Stone Sightings (poetry),  Arms (a novel), Drying the Bones (stories) and Belinda and the Dustbunnys (children’s novel). She has a MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Education, both from UBC. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards, prizes and fellowships for her writing. She currently teaches at the University of Victoria.

Books by Madeline Sonik