Truth & Fiction: Catherine Bush concludes this fall’s Lorenzo Readings

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The Lorenzo Reading Series has had a number of authors read at UNB Saint John over the fall term, with Catherine Bush concluding this semester’s line-up.

Visiting our campus on Nov. 18, Bush drew a crowd despite the foul weather. Reading from her most recent novel Accusation, her chosen excerpt gave insight to her controversial work.

Familiar with the Lorenzo Reading Series, Bush has participated as a guest reader once before while she was acting as writer in residence at UNB Fredericton. “It was kind of the circle being made whole actually,” says Bush, “because I did largely start the novel here and have really great memories of my time in Fredericton.”

Accusation, a Canada Reads Top 40 Pick, is a novel immersed in ambiguity. Bush’s fourth novel tells the tale of Sarah Wheeler, a young journalist from Toronto. Happening upon an Ethiopian children’s circus, Sarah meets Raymond Renaud, its founder. As allegations of sexual and physical abuse mount against Raymond, Sarah seeks any semblance of a single ‘truth’ amid said accusations.

Bush’s Accusation questions the nature of truth and fiction, forcing its audience to consider how people perceive one another—which is undeniably appropriate for the Lorenzo Reading Series’ theme of Telling Tales: Truth & Fiction.

The novel itself is worldly, set not only in Canada but also venturing into Australia and Ethiopia. “It’s very charged material,” says Bush on the controversial read, “It is serious material but I think the novel also tells a really gripping story, while asking the reader to think about the way all of us judge others.”

Bush strongly believes that, “one of the things a novel can do is ask us to think about how we judge others and how we choose to believe others.”

Student Katrina Pridgeon enjoyed the reading by Bush and liked the uniqueness of her novel. “I thought she was really soft spoken but it was kind of nice to hear something a little different than what we’re used to,” says Pridgeon.

Accusation was not able to be included on the ENGL3782 Special Topics: Lorenzo Reading Series course list due to time constraints. However, Bush still joined the class prior to her reading in Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre, allowing students to learn more about her work. The renowned author comments, “we had a really good discussion about accusations in class.”

Kyle Roberts, another student taking Margaret Anne Smith’s Special Topics course, also felt Bush’s prescnce was beneficial. “It’s always nice to have professors and other writers from Canada come and speak at the school,” says Roberts. “The genre [Bush] was writing in was not covered by the other authors that have spoken at Lorenzo so it was nice to have her as part of what we were doing.”

Accusation, a riveting tale of ethics and perception, made for an insightful reading and a fantastic addition to the Lorenzo Reading Series. Expect to see more of Catherine Bush’s novels in the future, though the writing process is quite time-consuming.

The Lorenzo Reading Series will resume its events come January. For more information on the Lorenzo Reading Series, check out their website http://www.unb.ca/saintjohn/arts/lorenzo/readingseries.html or contact Lorenzo Reading Series Coordinator Margaret Anne Smith at Margaret.Smith@unb.ca.

To find out more on Catherine Bush, take a peak at her website http://catherinebush.com/ or contact her via email at info@catherinebush.com