A-R International: Alison Wearing

Alison Wearing
Authors-Readers International

Alison Wearing is a Canadian writer and performer.

Her celebrated Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter is both a bestselling memoir and a multiple award-winning solo play. The memoir was shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, nominated for the RBC/Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, and was selected as an Indigo Books Top 50 Pick. The solo play has been featured in international theatre and literary festivals. Its numerous awards include Best Dramatic Script at New York City’s United Solo, the largest festival of solo theatre in the world.

Her most recent memoir, Moments of Glad Grace, has been heralded as “a wise, funny, and tender book, beautifully written and perfectly executed from first to last sentence” by Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi. She is also the author of the internationally acclaimed travel memoir Honeymoon in Purdah: an Iranian Journey.

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I met Alison Wearing through Bequia-friend Anna Landry, who knew Alison because they were both living in Statford the summer I visited Anna there. Anna told me about Alison’s books, both of which I subsequently read and enjoyed, and I invited Alison to be promoted on Reading Recommendations. A week after that post was published, I wrote another post about my trip to The Bayfield Writers’ Festival. I mainly went to see, again, Marina Endicott (already promoted on this Authors-Readers International series) who I knew from my other life as a sales rep back in Alberta. Alison Wearing was also in the audience, so we finally met in person in Bayfield! Here’s a link to the blog post I wrote about that Festival.

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Moments of Glad Grace: A Memoir

published by ECW Press

Moments of Glad Grace is a moving and witty memoir of aging, familial love, and the hunt for roots and belonging. The story begins as a trip from Canada to Ireland in search of genealogical data and documents. Being 80 and in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Joe invites his daughter Alison to come along as his research assistant, which might have worked very well had she any interest — any at all — in genealogy.

Very quickly, the father-daughter pilgrimage becomes more comical than fruitful, more of a bittersweet adventure than a studious mission. And rather than rigorous genealogy, their explorations move into the realm of family and forgiveness, the primal search for identity and belonging, and questions about responsibility to our ancestors and the extent to which we are shaped by the people who came before us.

Though continually bursting with humor, Moments of Glad Grace ultimately becomes a song of appreciation for the precious and limited time we have with our parents, the small moments we share, and the gifts of transcendence we might find there.

“This is a wise, funny, and tender book, beautifully written and perfectly executed from first to last sentence. It’s about a daughter and her ageing father, it’s about genealogy and identity, it’s about Ireland, but actually it’s about how we love the ones we love.

Moments of Glad Grace is a travelogue of the heart.
It’s a road you’ll want to travel.”

~ Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi

What Alison Waring is working on now: Alison’s current project is Memoir Writing, ink., a 12-week online writing program, which guides people through the process of transforming personal stories into memoir.

For more information on Alison Wearing, her writing and books, performances, and writing program, please see her website.

Alison Wearing was a guest on Reading Recommendations in July 2015.

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