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Fiction Literary


by (author) Anne Simpson

Freehand Books
Initial publish date
May 2020
Literary, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

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Winner of the 2021 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

A'isha Nasir is a Nigerian teenager who has been charged with adultery and sentenced to death. Sophie MacNeil is an ambitious young Canadian journalist who meets A'isha and writes an impassioned article about her plight. But when the article sets off waves of outrage and violence, Sophie is forced to come to terms with the naivete with which she approached the story. Who can -- and should -- tell a story?

Speechless is a stunning novel of justice, witness, and courage. In luminous prose, Simpson explores the power of words, our responsibility for them, and the ways they affect others in matters of life and death.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Anne Simpson has published three novels, Speechless, winner of the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, Canterbury Beach, and Falling, longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and winner of the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction. She has also written five poetry collections, of which Strange Attractor is the most recent. She won the Griffin Poetry Prize for Loop in 2004. Her book of essays, The Marram Grass: Poetry and Otherness, examines poetry, art, and philosophy. Simpson has worked as a writer-in-residence at libraries and universities across the country. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Editorial Reviews

"[P]assionate and ambitious . . . Simpson introduces us to a cast of fully realized characters and spins a fast-paced and gripping narrative, with high stakes. What does it mean to speak for yourself, or for others?" -- Johanna Skibsrud, author of The Sentimentalists

"[F]iery, poetic, and at times devastating . . . An excoriating and beautiful read with the urgency of right here, right now." -- Carol Bruneau, author of A Circle on the Surface

"Simpson deftly navigates the chaos that erupts at the outset of this sublime novel, guiding us through the vividly imagistic and intertwined desires of all her characters as their stories unfold in this deeply moving whirlwind of a read." -- Elizabeth Philips, author of The Afterlife of Birds

"A global narrative about gender and race, about words and actions and reactions, with tough female characters who will not back down and instead stand together against injustice. Simpson is a beautiful writer and this is a bold, brave book." -- Alexander Macleod, author of Light Lifting

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