Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Dirty Dozen, with Anne Dublin

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Anne Dublin

The issue of workers unionizing continues to be a hot button debate in 21st century politics but it's far from a new conversation, both in Toronto and around the world. One memorable moment in local workers' history was the The Toronto Dressmakers’ Strike of 1931, which forms the backdrop for Anne Dublin's new middle grade book 44 Hours or Strike! (Second Story Press).

Sisters Sophie and Rose fight for better working conditions and a living wage as they battle to form a union with their co-workers, but it's a complex situation with violence lurking around every corner. When Rose is sent to jail following a picket line fight, 14-year old Sophie is forced to continue on her own, caring for their ill mother and protesting on the frozen streets of Toronto. In the dark days of the Great Depression, the two sisters fight for workers' rights in a great read for young people interested in social justice.

We talk to Anne today as part of our Dirty Dozen series, which invites writers to share twelve unexpected facts about themselves. Anne tells us about why you'd want to visit when she's taking a writing break, being a late bloomer and her useful bed-making hack.

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  1. When I was in grade 9, I asked my mom if I should take typing or German in grade 10. She said, “Take typing. You’ll always be able to get a job.” She was right.

  2. I lived in Kenya from 1971–73. I know how to say “Hello”, “Good-bye”, and “Where’s the bathroom?” in Swahili.

  3. I have a fear of heights. I’ve been frozen with terror on the Scarborough Bluffs (Toronto) and at the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich (Belize). But I know how to pronounce the names of both these places.

  4. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat red meat, poultry or seafood. But I like fish and veggies (except for okra).

  5. When I get brain fatigue, I go to my kitchen and bake. Some of my favourites are: ginger cookies, my mom’s strudel, and mandelbrot (Jewish biscotti). I love chocolate eclairs and strawberry tarts, but I don’t bake them.

  6. I learned to ride a bike in my 20s, ice skate in my 30s, and swim in my 40s. I began to write in my 50s and have recently started to learn how to play recorder. You might say that I’m a late bloomer.

  7. One of my favourite places to walk is in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (Toronto). I like the peace and quiet (not surprising), the trees and water, and to read the headstones. A person’s life encapsulated.

  8. My favourite comfort foods are mac and cheese, falafel and muffins warm from the oven.

  9. When I sleep, I roll over in one narrow spot. That way, it’s easy to make the bed in the morning.

  10. When I was a girl, I saw the ballet Coppelia at the Royal Alex Theatre in Toronto. Since then, I’ve wanted to be a ballerina. I studied dance in Toronto and Wisconsin and got a BFA in dance. I even learned how to read Labanotation, a system of dance notation that uses a vertical staff — complicated and precise.

  11. I know 2-3/4 languages: English, French, Hebrew and Yiddish. (See #2 above for Swahili.)

  12. I like to read all kinds of books, but my latest obsession is detective/mystery novels by Jussi Adler-Olsen and Louise Penny. I’m presently using them as an excuse for not doing my own writing.


Anne Dublin is a former teacher-librarian and award-winning author living in Toronto. She has written two biographies for Second Story Press: June Callwood: A Life of Action and Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything, as well as Dynamic Women Dancers, part of the Women's Hall of Fame series. Her latest book is the children's historical fiction novel The Orphan Rescue.

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