Paul Hiebert's hilarious spoof of literary biography centres on "the Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan," title character Sarah Binks. This satire of academic pretensions includes deliberately wrong-headed interpretations of the poet's work, and her mistranslations of the German poet Heinrich Heine.
Sarah Binks won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour when it was first published in 1947, and is considered a classic of Canadian literature. It was a contender for Canada Reads in 2003, when it was defended by Will Ferguson.
From the book
A plain shaft of composition stone with the simple inscription:
marks the last resting place of the Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan. Below the inscription at the base of the shaft in smaller letters is carved the motto; alone, and above it in larger type:
this monument was erected by the
citizens of the municipality
of North Willows
and was unveiled on July 1, 1931
the Hon. Augustus E. Windheaver
in the presence of
the reeve and council
Here follows the names of the reeve and councillors together with the names of a number of outstanding statesmen of the day. Truly a fitting tribute to so great a woman. And it is no less a tribute to the Province of Saskatchewan that on the occasion of the unveiling of this monument the register of names at the Commercial House at Willows should be at the same time the roster of the greatest of Saskatchewan's sons.
From Sarah Binks by Paul Hiebert ©2010. Published by New Canadian Library.