Sweatman Brings Vietnam Novel to Book Club – Winnipeg Free Press


The Free Press Book Club, in partnership with McNally Robinson Booksellers and Thin Air: The Winnipeg International Writers Festival, is pleased to welcome Winnipeg novelist, performer and playwright Margaret Sweatman to the next virtual meeting on Monday, August 26 at 19.00 to read from and discuss her sixth novel The Gunsmith’s Daughter.

Jay Gaune photo

Margaret Sweatman

Margaret Sweatman’s debut novel, 1991s Foxwon the Manitoba Book Awards’ McNally Robinson Book of the Year, an award she won again in 2001 for When Alice lay down with Peter, which also won her the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her critically acclaimed novel from 2014 Mr. Jonesin the meantime, saw Sweatman win the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction at the Manitoba Book Awards. In 2005, she was named the first Carol Shields writer-in-residence at the University of Winnipeg, and with her partner Glenn Buhr, she performs in the Broken Songs Band.

Published by Goose Lane Editions in April 2022, The Gunsmith’s Daughter takes place in the early 1970s and introduces readers to the Welsh family. Isolated along the Winnipeg River, 18-year-old Lilac lives with her parents Kal and Ruby, her father a designer of weapons in demand by a number of armies. His latest, the Stalker, is claimed to be capable of shooting down a plane with a single shot.

One day, Gavin McLean shows up at their home. Gavin is a fan of Kal’s and has decided to try to meet him before he enlists in the US Army to fight in Vietnam, and during his short time at home, he and Lilac form a deep connection. After Gavin leaves, Lilac gets a job at Winnipeg Tribune and travels to Saigon as a Vietnam War correspondent with the idea of ​​chronicling Gavin’s story. In doing so, and trying to distance herself from her father’s legacy, she meets a series of characters that shape her coming-of-age story.

The Gunsmith’s Daughter

In her Free press review in May 2022, Faith Johnston called The Gunsmith’s Daughter “an indictment of the modern arms industry and Canada’s role in the Vietnam War” and noted that “[t]throughout the novel, the dialogue sparkles with authenticity and wit… Sweatman’s unpredictable but compelling bits of conversation go a long way in revealing the characters and their relationships.”

Sweatman will join Free press literary editor Ben Sigurdson, Chris Hall of McNally Robinson, Charlene Diehl of Thin Air and Free press engagement manager Erin Lebar at the virtual book club meeting on Monday, August 26. Sweatman will read from The Gunsmith’s Daughterdiscuss the novel’s themes and answer questions from viewers/readers.

Copy of The Gunsmith’s Daughter available for purchase at McNally Robinson; there is no cost to participate in the book club and virtual discussion, which will be available for playback after the event at Free press YouTube channel.

Visit wfp.to/bookclub to join the Free Press Book Club and for more information on current and future book selections.



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