Canada Reads·Canadian

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

Wayne Johnston's epic novel is based on the life of Newfoundland's first premier, Joey Smallwood.

Wayne Johnston

An epic, entertaining novel about Newfoundland history, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams tells the eventful story of Joey Smallwood, the first premier of the province. Smallwood was born on the wrong side of the tracks, but transcended his upbringing to rise to power and lead the island into confederation with Canada. 

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams was shortlisted for the Giller Prize in 1998 and was a Canada Reads finalist in 2003. It was defended by Justin Trudeau.

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From the book

Cape Breton was much like Newfoundland, yet everything seemed slightly off. Light, colours, surface textures, dimensions — objects like telegraph poles, fence posts, mail boxes, which you would think would be the same everywhere, were bigger or smaller or wider by a hair than they were back home. That I was able to detect such subtle differences made me realize how circumscribed my life had been, how little of the world I had seen.


From The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston ©1999. Published by Vintage Canada.

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