Ami McKay (The Virgin Cure) appears at Eden Mills Writers' Festival

As part of 49th Shelf's #Fest2Fest, Julie Wilson spoke with Ami McKay via Skype about her upcoming festival appearances to promote The Virgin Cure (Random House Canada), the follow up to her bestselling debut novel The Birth House.

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Ami McKay appears at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival, September 16, 2012.

Visit for all details.


The annual Eden Mills Writers' Festival is held in the small village of Eden Mills, just east of Guelph, Ontario, the second Sunday after Labor Day in September. It is charming, scenic and unique; a perfect setting for a festival. The festival includes readings by poets, authors and other writers at various outdoor venues throughout the village.

Each year audiences of several thousand, from all over the world, now come to the Festival to enjoy the unique mix of quaint surroundings, great literature, and relaxed ambiance. Eden Mills is a place "where new writers are introduced to a large audience and established writers are newly engaged."

Follow the Eden Mills Writers' Festival on Twitter: @EMWF.

Share your festival experiences using the hashtag #EMWF.

The Birth House, by Ami McKay (Random House, 2012)

About The Virgin Cure: The Virgin Cure begins in the tenements of lower Manhattan in the year 1871. A series of betrayals lead Moth, at only twelve years old, to the wild, murky world of the Bowery, where eventually she meets Miss Everett, the owner of a brothel simply known as "The Infant School." Miss Everett caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for companions who are "willing and clean," and the most desirable of them all are young virgins like Moth.

 While Moth''s housemates risk falling prey to the myth of the "virgin cure"—the belief that deflowering a girl can heal the incurable and tainted—her new friend Dr. Sadie warns Moth to question and observe the world around her so she won''t share the same fate. Still, Moth dreams of answering to no one but herself. There's a high price for such independence, though, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.

Ami McKay, author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure (photo credit: Ian McKay)

About Ami McKay: Ami McKay was born and raised in rural Indiana. After an undergraduate degree in music education and graduate studies in musicology at Indiana State University, she moved to Chicago to teach music at an inner city high school for the arts.

In 2000, McKay moved to Scots Bay, Nova Scotia (for the love of a good Canadian man). Waiting for her residency papers to be processed gave her plenty of time to embrace the writing life.

Soon McKay took bigger steps toward living the writing life. A summer workshop called "Writing for Radio" opened new doors and the opportunity to combine her love of music and sound with her passion for writing. This experience led to writing and producing documentaries for CBC Radio as well as other freelance assignments. McKay’s work has since aired on CBC Radio’s Maritime Magazine, This Morning, Outfront and The Sunday Edition. Her documentary Daughter of Family G won an Excellence in Journalism Medallion at the 2003 Atlantic Journalism Awards.

Published as a selection of Knopf Canada’s prestigious New Face of Fiction program, Ami's debut novel The Birth House went on to be a #1 bestseller in Canada, the winner of three CBA Libris Awards, nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and a book club favourite around the world.

The Virgin Cure, is inspired by the life of her great-great-grandmother Dr. Sarah Fonda Mackintosh, a female physician in nineteenth-century New York.

Visit Ami McKay online at her official website.

September 12, 2012
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