Susan Juby takes home the 2016 Leacock Medal for humour writing for her novel Republic of Dirt.
Prudence Burns is an overly idealistic Brooklyn girl who has inherited a derelict plot of land named Woefield Farm. Her motley crew of farm hands consists of Earl, an elderly, reclusive bluegrass legend; Seth, an agoraphobic heavy-metal blogger in early recovery from alcoholism; and Sara, an 11-year-old girl with a flock of elite show poultry.
When Prudence is felled by a thyroid condition, things on the farm begin to fall apart, resulting in valiant and sometimes ill-advised attempts to restore domestic bliss. Efforts are complicated by a renegade mule, attempts to turn a hideously ugly child’s playhouse into a high-yield roadside farm stand, and an electrical station’s worth of crossed wires. Will Prudence get well? Will Seth finally get rid of his pesky virginity? Will Earl rescue Sara? And will anyone, ever, admit they might be wrong?
Told in four highly distinct, unforgettably hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking voices, The Republic of Dirt is about what happens when passions collide with pride and what it takes to save each other, our small part of the planet, and ourselves. (Publisher)