Nova Scotia·Audio

Cape Breton-born writer Sheldon Currie named to the Order of Canada

The Reserve Mines native was given the honour for his contributions to Canadian literature, particularly for his 30 years of service as the fiction editor of The Antigonish Review.

Reserve Mines native recognized for his contributions to Canadian literature

An older man sits in a recliner with a small smile.
Sheldon Currie is a Nova Scotia-born writer known for his works about mining towns around Cape Breton. (Rose Murphy/CBC)

Cape Breton-born writer Sheldon Currie is one of the newest members of the Order of Canada.

The Reserve Mines native was given the honour for his contributions to Canadian literature, particularly for his 30 years of service as the fiction editor of The Antigonish Review.

"It was very hard work. We used to get probably 300 [pieces of writing] a month, and we'd publish about four or five at most," he said in an interview this week with CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia.

Currie wrote short stories, plays and novels about life in mining towns in Cape Breton, and taught English at St. Francis Xavier University.

Most notably, his 1976 short story, The Glace Bay Miners' Museum, which was originally published in the Review, was made into a feature film called Margaret's Museum starring Helena Bonham Carter.

"Well, I was very lucky. The way that happened was pure luck," he said.

Currie said a St. FX colleague took the book to Quebec and gave it to Gerald Wexler, a Canadian film screenwriter who then sent a script to the agent of Bonham Carter.

"She looked at it. She said to her agent, 'I want to do this.' She says, 'I would just love to be able to portray a snot-nosed girl,' so they came in and did it in Glace Bay," he said.

Currie said when he first received the letter about being named to the Order of Canada, he thought it was a scam.

"They sent me some stuff which indicates that it was real. It's pretty good — mostly, mostly to justify the quality of writing in Cape Breton."

To hear more about Currie's writing career and this latest recognition, listen to part of his interview from his home in Antigonish with CBC reporter Rose Murphy below.

When he first got the letter, Sheldon Currie thought he might be the target of a scam. But it was no trick! The Cape Breton born writer is one of the newest members of the Order of Canada. The CBC's Rose Murphy visited him at his home in Antigonish County.

With files from Rose Murphy, CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now