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Written by Kathleen Winter

Series Title: Anansi Book Club Editions

  • 480 Pages
  • 9781770893344
  • 7.75" x 5"
  • FICTION / Literary



Publication Date April 06, 2013

A finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and a #1 national bestseller, Kathleen Winter's spectacular debut novel is now available in a new edition.

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret — the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self — a girl he thinks of as "Annabel" — is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life.

Haunting and sweeping in scope, Annabel is an unforgettable novel about a one person's struggle to discover the truth in a culture that shuns contradiction.

Winner of the Independent Literary Awards 2010

Winner of the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award 2011

Selected for the Best Books of the Year 2010

Short-listed for the First Novel Award 2011

Short-listed for the CBC Bookies: Best Overall Book 2011

Short-listed for the CBC Bookies: Best Scene 2011

Selected for the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year 2010

Short-listed for the Governor General's Award: Fiction 2010

Long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2011

Selected for the New York Times Editors' Choice 2011

Short-listed for the OLA Evergreen Award 2011

Short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011

Selected for the Quill and Quire Books of the Year 2010

Long-listed for the ReLit Awards: Novel 2011

Short-listed for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize 2010

Short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2010

Selected for the Vancouver Sun Top 10 Canadian Books of the Year 2010


Kathleen Winter
Kathleen Winter is the author of the international bestseller, Annabel, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and CBC’s Canada Reads. Her first collection of stories, boys, won both the Winterset Award and the Metcalf–Rooke Award. A long-time resident of St. John’s, Newfoundland, she now lives in Montreal.


"...a sprawling book filled with musical prose..." The Walrus

"Annabel is an unforgettable novel of struggles, personal and inter-personal, and Winter's empathetic voice does them justice in a way that connects reader to story. Destined to be one of the biggest novels out of Newfoundland this year, this is a story of isolation and a communication breakdown that breaks a family down, and breaks the reader down along with them." St. John's Telegram

"... a confident, serious debut." Guardian

"It’s this complexity of vision, this refusal to accept false absolutes that makes Annabel such a stunning novel..." The Scope

"Annabel is a beautifully sensitive novel, populated with realistic characters and lit by a powerful sense of place. It deserves multiple readings, as its sensibility, the richness of its description and its sheer honesty grip the heart." The Vancouver Sun

"Wayne proves a compelling narrator . . . you are going to choke up, don't even try not to. [. . .] The truth is, none of us knows what any of us is going to turn out like, and that's always a story worth telling." 2BMag

"There is a haunting beauty to Winter’s depictions of the natural world." Edmonton Journal

". . . utterly original . . . a haunting story of family, identity, and the universal yearning to belong." O Magazine

"The Montreal-based Winter, a native of Newfoundland, possesses a rare blend of lyrical brilliance, descriptive power and psychological and philosophical insight...A compelling, gracefully written novel about mixed gender that sheds insight as surely as it rejects sensationalism. This book announces the arrival of a major writer." Kirkus Reviews

"A book like this, its topic and beautiful language, the unrelenting sorrow, Winter's insightful characterizations and utter sensitivity, is difficult to do justice to with these few words. I simply want to tell people: read this book. Read it though you know little or nothing about its subject or the author. It will open you up. It will change you." Ottawa Citizen

"[Kathleen Winter's] lyrical voice and her crystalline landscape are enchanting." New Yorker

". . . beautifully paced, sometimes shocking and never prurient." Intelligent Life Magazine

"Annabel...provided satisfying respite and insight." Guelph Mercury

". . . a poignant and powerful first novel . . ." Montreal Gazette

"Reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides' magnificent 2002 novel Middlesex, Winter's treatment of such a delicate issue is amazing and incredibly engaging. Her novel is written with immense sensitivity and grace, not to be missed." Bay Area Reporter

"Read it because it's a story told with sensitivity to language that compels to the last page, and read it because it asks the most existential of questions. Stripped of the trappings of gender, [Kathleen] Winter asks, what are we?" Globe and Mail

"Put "Annabel" right at the top of your summer reading list, and save it for a day when you have several lazy hours to live in its world." The Northeast Avalon Times

"Winter has written an ambitious first novel set in a little-known corner of the country and peopled by memorable guides." Montreal Review of Books

"Annabel's strength lies in probing the dilemma of sexuality and self-knowledge. I have never read such an intimate portrait of a person struggling to live inside a self that the world sees as a dreadful mistake." National Post

"...a stunning novel, one of the rare kind that might well imbed itself permanently in a reader's psyche." New Glasgow News

"Annabel is a stunning and stirring debut that signals the long-overdue arrival of a literary talent." Halifax Chornicle Herald

"Winter's dazzling debut addresses the riddle of gender and the tragedy of conformity with astonishing insight and eloquence." Gay Calgary and Edmonton Magazine

". . . Annabel is a novel about divisions, not only between the sexes but also between social classes and, perhaps most crucially, ways of being . . . Winter does a deft job of developing all the characters fully and making their motives understandable . . . It's to Winter's credit that both the fear and the beauty are given vivid expression in this finely crafted novel." Toronto Star

". . . a captivating romantic novel with a happy ending." Canadian Literature

"This is a remarkable first novel, an accomplished debut by an exciting new voice with a confident, mature style." Daily Express

Goodreads reviews for Annabel