Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay, Ont., author's new book drawing international attention

A Thunder Bay, Ont., author is making quite a splash with her new book, a novel that draws on the imagery and history of Lake Superior and its historic lighthouses.

The Light Keeper's Daughters by Jean Pendziwol is set to be published in over 10 countries

Thunder Bay author Jean Pendziwol is receiving international attention for her first novel aimed at an adult audience. The Light Keeper's Daughters was released in North America on Tuesday. (

A Thunder Bay, Ont., author is making quite a splash with her new book, a novel that draws on the imagery and history of Lake Superior and its historic lighthouses.

Jean Pendziwol's first foray into writing a novel with an adult audience in mind is called The Light Keeper's Daughters. It tells a story of an unlikely relationship between two women that develops over the found journals of the main character's father, a former Porphyry Island lighthouse-keeper.

Porphyry Island is located in Lake Superior, east of the Sibley peninsula and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The island, located about 15 kilometres east of Silver Islet, is home to a lighthouse that has recently been restored.

While Pendziwol is known for her children's literature, like No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons), her new novel has already secured publishing in a number of countries outside North America. It's been a new experience, she said.

"The process for having a novel published is slightly different from what I've been used to with the publication for children's books," she said. "So I actually have an agent in New York who has been working on getting this story into the hands of publishers."

Aside from its North American release, the book has also been acquired for markets including China, Italy, Germany, Spain and Brazil.
The Porphyry Island lighthouse plays a large part in a new novel by Thunder Bay author Jean Pendziwol. (Paul Morralee)

The story's setting is familiar to Pendziwol, who grew up spending time sailing on Lake Superior. "From a very young age, our family had a sailboat and ... all of our weekends and summer vacations were spent out on Lake Superior," she said.

"I have a lot of fond memories of being in anchorages along the north shore, the isolation ... the stunning beauty of Lake Superior."

To add extra authenticity to the writing, Pendziwol said she also spoke with people who had worked at the Porphyry Island lighthouse over the years.

"They added a lot of texture to the story and the elements of the story and life on Porphyry Island and life as light keepers," she said. "I was really fortunate to have had the opportunity to connect with them."

Pendziwol is holding a book launch Thursday July 6 at 7 p.m. at the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in Thunder Bay.


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