Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson

Probably Ruby is a novel by Lisa Bird-Wilson.

A novel about a young girl who grows up knowing little about her Indigenous heritage

Relinquished as an infant, Ruby is placed in a foster home and finally adopted by Alice and Mel, a less-than-desirable couple who can't afford to complain too loudly about Ruby's Indigenous roots. And so-begins Ruby's life-long identity crisis, which she describes as having amnesia about something that never happened. Her new parents' marriage falls apart and Ruby finds herself vulnerable and in compromising situations that lead her to search, in the unlikeliest of places, for her Indigenous identity. Unabashedly self-destructing on alcohol, drugs, and bad relationships, Ruby grapples with the meaning of the legacy left to her.

Probably Ruby won two 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards, including the Regina Public Library Book of the Year Award Honouring Mary Sutherland and the City of Saskatoon/Saskatoon Public Library Saskatoon Award.

Probably Ruby is a finalist for the 2022 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. The winner will be announced on Nov. 16, 2022.

Lisa Bird-Wilson is a Saskatchewan Métis and nêhiyaw writer. Her book Just Pretending won four Saskatchewan Book Awards. She is also the author of the poetry collection The Red Files.

Why Lisa Bird-Wilson wrote Probably Ruby

"I had finished my poetry book in 2016, and I wanted to get back to writing fiction. I had a bit of a block and I was saying, 'I don't know if I can write fiction again. I don't know if I have it in me. Do I have any more fiction?' 

I'm always curious about other people's experiences, and their interpretation of those experiences.- Lisa Bird-Wilson

"I started writing using that clichéd advice about 'write what you know.' So I started writing about being Indigenous and being adopted. I'm always curious about other people's experiences, and their interpretation of those experiences. I was always trying to see it from different angles.

"I realized that I was writing about one character and then I realized, 'OK, this character is Ruby.' But when I got Ruby's laugh, Ruby clicked for me. She became real at that point. Her laugh allowed me to propel her character along."

Read her full interview with The Next Chapter.

More interviews with Lisa Bird-Wilson

Lisa Bird Wilson in conversation with Shelagh Rogers about her novel, Probably Ruby.
Lisa Bird-Wilson's novel Probably, Ruby won Book of the Year at this year's Saskatchewan Book Awards. It tells the story of Ruby - an Indigenous woman who was adopted into a white family as an infant. That's an experience Bird-Wilson has also lived through. She joins host Shauna Powers from the Saskatchewan Festival of Words.

Other books by Lisa Bird-Wilson


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