"Ravenscraig" book trailer by Sandi Krawchenko Altner (Youtube)
“This is a long shot,” I was told by a publishing industry insider, when I handed him my manuscript. “Historical fiction is hard to sell and, well, it’s about Winnipeg.”
—Sandi Krawchenko Altner, author
I am deeply honoured that Ravenscraig, my novel about Winnipeg at the turn of the 20th century, has been shortlisted for the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award and thrilled to be in the company of the many fine writers nominated for the Manitoba Book Awards.
My interest in Winnipeg's past was first sparked by my father and later ignited by historian Alan Artibise.
My dad, Carl Krawchenko, was a great observer and storyteller and going for a drive with him provided more education than he may have intended. He'd button his coat and cast a glance at one of us kids. "You comin' with?"
History class couldn't compare to what you could learn from Carl.
"See all these streets with girls' names? Laura, Lizzie, Ruby? You know who they are named after? Prostitutes," he said. I was ten.
Many years later, I bought an old copy of Winnipeg, a Social History of Urban Growth 1874-1914, by Alan F.J. Artibise. I was captivated.
I learned Winnipeg grew as a city divided by both railroad tracks and silver spoons.
The "foreign born" were tolerated and useful to the "commercial elite" anxious to grow the city, but foreigners were barred from the circles of power.
Ten years of research and a parade of fictitious people took over my life and emerged as Ravenscraig.
"This is a long shot," I was told by a publishing industry insider, when I handed him my manuscript. "Historical fiction is hard to sell and, well, it's about Winnipeg."