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2023 Event:
Sharon Butala

Hosted by Fran Kimmel

Leaving Wisdom

Leaving Wisdom begins with the wrong kind of bang when retiring social worker Judith falls on the ice on the way to her retirement party. The debilitating concussion that follows seems to shake loose a confusing whirl of memories, leading to the unraveling of family secrets and one woman’s awakening to the complex shadows cast by World War II and the Holocaust.

About Sharon Butala

Sharon Butala is the author of twenty-one books of fiction and nonfiction, as well as essays, articles, poetry and plays. Sharon’s books have been on Canadian bestseller lists, including her #1 bestselling memoir The Perfection of the Morning, and have been nominated for, and received, numerous awards. In 2020, her story collection, Season of Fury and Wonder, was nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and won the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Sharon is an Officer of the Order of Canada. She lives in Calgary.

Leaving Wisdom (2023)

With her strength compromised by a shaky recovery from the fall that resulted in concussion, Judith leaves Calgary and, to everyone’s bewilderment, moves back to Wisdom, Saskatchewan, the town near her family farm. Small town life is a shock after the big city: Judith is exposed to watchful neighbours, and she is watchful in turn. Small town bigotry and what looks like a serious crime unfolding next door make her pursuit of unsolved mysteries in her own life more difficult – what is she doing here? Does she have enough wisdom to unravel her past?

Fran Kimmel is a long-time fan of STARFest and the award-winning author of short stories, plays for both theatre and radio, and the novels No Good Asking and The Shore Girl. She writes and teaches in Lacombe. You can find her latest news at