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Reactions to Thompson’s first novel, ROAR
being published by Nimbus/Vantage in October 2023


From Sheree Fitch (NS)- Award-Winning Canadian Author and Order of Canada Recipient 


Wow. Wow. Wow. I want to roar, READ THIS BOOK.

I do not have enough superlatives. ROAR is simply stunning: a courageous book the world needs right now and forever. Masterfully crafted. Sentences that steal your breath. Characters so richly imagined, they follow you around and occupy your heart. Microscopic detail that lures us into every scene, breaks us open, provokes, informs, heals, transforms. Raw and tender, heartbreaking and joyful. Infused with love, compassion, and unblinking truth. Above all else, ROAR is unforgettable. A debut novel it may be, yet it introduces the voice of an enlightened, gifted storyteller.


From: Jeanette Lynes (Saskatoon, SK)

Author of The Apothecary’s Garden, The Factory Voice and more (Long listed for the Giller prize, The Globe and Mail Top 100 Book)

Fire and ash, breath, spirit and mist, forest, river and sea, earth wafting sweet scents of peony, honeysuckle. Shelley Thompson’s Roar is a beautiful, deeply immersive story of a family’s resilience through loss, and their work of healing, and rebuilding, as we follow Don’s journey to becoming Dawn and, as her name suggests, a new beginning. A story of thresholds, transformations, and the power of love. Roar is also a story about community; Thompson resists romanticizing it, doesn’t shy away from exposing its underbelly – but she also reveals its capacity for acceptance and change. We’ve always needed this story but now we need it more than ever.

From: Carol Bruneau (NS), author of Brighten the Corner Where You Are. Winner (2001) Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Dartmouth Book Award for her first novel. Glass Voices (2007) was a Globe and Mail Best Book.

Fierce, tender, brave, and incendiary, Roar is a story for these fractious times that couldn’t be more true. Here, absence = presence = love, the kind that outweighs gender biases and ugly assumptions about how things “should” (or shouldn’t) be that divide a family and a community. Set against the bucolic and the brutal—all that’s good and depressingly bad about rural Nova Scotia—here’s a righteous shredding of the ignorance that underlies transphobic, and by extension all, hatred. As Thompson so compellingly shows us, keeping silent only nurtures it.


Ronnie Ali (Toronto): Psychotherapist and Consultant

Roar is a model for finding a road back to your family. It reminds us that the process

of repairing relationships sometimes asks us to take a trust fall.

Masterworks Prize

Thompson's first feature film, 


was the winner of Nova Scotia's 



As a result: 


providing support to trans youth in the Maritimes, overseen by Phoenix Youth Programs in Halifax, NS. 

More information, and how to donate.



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