The Sunday Edition

Helen Weinzweig's editor remembers the day Basic Black with Pearls landed on his desk

On the centenary of her birth, Toronto writer Helen Weinzweig's ground-breaking feminist novel has been re-issued. Her publisher, James Polk, recalls the day the manuscript landed on his desk, 35 years ago.

Basic Black with Pearls is the title of a novel that is being rediscovered, and acclaimed as a lost feminist classic. It was written by the Toronto writer, Helen Weinzweig, who died in 2010 at the age of 94.

Now, thirty-five years after it was first published, the novel has been re-issued to mark the author's centenary year. Recently the Toronto Reference Library organized a panel to celebrate the book. We hear from Ms. Weinzweig's editor, James Polk, and from Heather Rumball of the Toronto Public Library Foundation.

Basic Black with Pearls won the Toronto Book Award in 1981. In 1989, Helen Weinzweig was nominated for a Governor-General's Award for fiction for a collection of short stories called A View from the Roof.


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