Novelist to be Featured by Book Club and Book Pub

A.J.B. Johnston’s Thomas, A Secret Life

Award-winning writer A.J.B. Johnston’s new novel Thomas, A Secret Life (CBU Press) will be the subject of an open book club session at the McConnell Memorial Library next month.

Open book clubs are an opportunity to question the author and to take part in an informal discussion about the book, share thoughts on it, get the story behind it and to question the choices made in writing the book.

In this case, Thomas, A Secret Life is the imagined life of Thomas Pichon (1700-1781) as a youth in his native France. Pichon is known to Canadian historians as the Spy of Beausejour.

John Johnston is well-known as a historian and the author of a dozen books and more than a hundred articles on 18th-century French colonial history. Over the years his research crossed paths with Thomas Pichon many times.

Atlantic Books Today calls Johnston “a natural” for Pichon’s story.

“Johnston deftly presents an unrepentant, unsavoury and unreliable [character] in an even-handed manner,” the review said.

As we might imagine, writing historical fact is much different than historical fiction, but Johnston says he relished the opportunity to “imagine” the story instead of recording history. Thomas is a masterful example. It’s a great read and should spark lively discussion.

The open book club session is scheduled for Tuesday, November 20, 1-3 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

On the same day, A.J.B. Johnston will be appearing at Coles in the Mayflower Mall (4-6 p.m.) and will read at Governors Book Pub (7 p.m.).

Johnston’s most recent non-fiction was Endgame 1758 (CBU Press, 2008), chronicling Louisbourg’s last decade. The book won the Canadian Historical Association’s Clio award and was a finalist for an Atlantic Book Award.

In 2011, Johnston was invested as a Chevalier of the Order of Academic Palms by the government of France for his lifelong historical achievements.