Heidi L.M. Jacobs's novel Molly of the Mall is a charming look at life in Edmonton
Molly of the Mall won the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
Heidi L.M. Jacobs is a writer and librarian who was born in Edmonton and now lives in Ontario. Her debut novel, Molly of the Mall, is set in Edmonton in the early 1990s. It won the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.
The novel tells the story of Molly MacGregor, an aspiring novelist living in Edmonton, who spends much of her time writing university term papers instead of novels and sells shoes in the Largest Mall on Earth.
Complications ensue in Edmonton
"Molly of the Mall partially takes place in a very large shopping mall in Edmonton and at the University of Edmonton. The protagonist is Molly McGregor. She's an English major in the school year and a shoe salesperson in the summer. She's trying to find a way to become a great novelist.
It's a book about finding out who you are by navigating where you're from.
"It's a book about finding out who you are by navigating where you're from — and also about finding the beautiful and the poetic wherever you live."
Writing about home
"When I was a student, I was taking a summer writing course and we had to come up with five or six pages every day for five days for six weeks. It was really intense. I was living in the U.S. at the time, writing this thing about this little character who worked at a shoe store in a shopping mall. People really liked it.
I found the farther I was away from Edmonton, the more I started thinking about Edmonton as a place and what being Canadian meant.
"I kept working on it, off and on, for quite a number of years. I lived in the U.S. for about eight years. I found the farther I was away from Edmonton, the more I started thinking about Edmonton as a place and what being Canadian meant."
Heidi L.M. Jacobs's comments have been edited for length and clarity.