Canada Reads·Canadian


Kathleen Winter's novel was shortlisted for Canada Reads, the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

Kathleen Winter

Annabel is the haunting story of a mysterious child born in 1968 in a village in the stark but beautiful region of coastal Labrador. Wayne is raised as a boy, but is actually an intersex child. As he comes of age in the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self — a girl he thinks of as "Annabel" — becomes irrepressible, forcing the character to confront this duality.

In 2010, Annabel was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. The following year, it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and won the Thomas Head Raddall Award.

Annabel was defended by Sarah Gadon for Canada Reads 2014.

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From the book

And now the head of his and Jacinta's first baby glittered beautifully in the white bathroom without his witnessing it, and so did the shoulders, the belly with its cord, the penis, thighs, knees, and toes. Thomasina hooked a plug of slime out of the baby's mouth with her pinky, slicked her big hand over face, belly, buttocks like butter over one of her hot loaves, and slipped the baby back to its mother. It was as the baby latched on to Jacinta's breast that Thomasina caught sight of something slight, flower-like; one testicle had not descended, but there was something else. She waited the eternal instant that women wait when a horror jumps out at them. It is an instant that men do not use for waiting, an instant that opens a door to life or death. Women look through the opening because something might be alive in there.

From Annabel by Kathleen Winter ©2010. Reproduced with permission from House of Anansi Press.

Author interviews

Wpeaks with Shelagh Rogers about her new novel.

Canada Reads 2014: Panelist Sarah Gadon passionately defends "Annabel"

9 years ago
Duration 2:17
The actress argues in favour of the metaphorical aspects of the book....

More about this book