Graham creates complex characters for print and stage

Jamie Heap
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The Book Review: Diligent River Daughter: By Bruce Graham. (Lawrencetown Beach: Pottersfield) $22.95, 285 pp. 

Parrsboro author Bruce Graham, seen here signing copies of Duddy Doesn't Live Here Anymore at its launch this past September at Sweet Brier Boutique, signed a contract with Scott Burke this past week to adapt Duddy for stage. Previously, Burke has adapted such Graham novels as The Parrsboro Boxing Club and Diligent River Daughter. It has yet to be determined what theatre will play host to Burke's stage version of Duddy Doesn't Live Here Anymore, a book currently available at Coles Bookstore.

Bruce Graham has had quite a career. When he was news director at MITV, he campaigned to have television cameras placed inside the Nova Scotia Legislature, a case that went to the Supreme Court of Canada. These days, he spends his time creating complex characters.

Diligent River Daughter is full of such characters. “I have always been interested in that period of our history and I wanted to write a book from the perspective of a young woman (Charlene Durant) as I had never done that before,” said Bruce Graham. “Also, the war (WWI) came at a time of new technology, the cusp of new machines—remember Charlene and her father had one of the first autos in this part of Nova Scotia.”

The novel’s protagonist, Charlene Durant, is not the only complex character Graham creates. “(Charlene’s) Aunt Matilda was based on a woman I didn't know, but certain heard of,” stated Graham. “Charlene’s father (Hillman) was a man who was torn in life, wanting to desperately hang on to his youth. Like so many he saw the war as a last chance for adventure. They all believed it would be over in a matter of months.”

This past week, Graham signed a contract with former Ship’s Company Theatre artistic director and general manager Scott Burke to bring the former’s latest novel Duddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore to the stage.

While it is unknown at this time which theatre Duddy will be performed at, it is likely that Burke’s stage adaptation of Duddy will occur in 2016.

In 2015, the 100thanniversary of Sir Charles Tupper’s death, Graham plans on releasing a play in conjunction with the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society titled Our Feuding Fathers. Copies of Diligent River Daughter and Duddy Doesn’t Live Here Any are available at Coles.

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada, Parrsborough Shore Historical Society

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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