2017 Program Info

If This Is Freedom, by Gloria Ann Wesley

Gloria Ann Wesley’s book To My Someday Child (1977) was the first book of poetry published by an African Nova Scotian writer. On April 5, 2007, the Nova Scotia Legislature passed a Resolution recognizing this fact and congratulating Gloria.

Gloria is a graduate of the Nova Scotia Teachers College and St. Francis Xavier University. She has over 25 years of experience in the Nova Scotia school system in various roles at the elementary, middle, senior and administrative levels. She has worked in Halifax, New Glasgow, Guysborough, Monastery and Port Hawkesbury. In her role as an English Language Arts teacher, she recognized the need for African Canadian novels. This inspired her to write Chasing Freedom and If This Is Freedom.

Her writings include To My Someday Child (1975), Woman, Sing (2002) and Burlap and Lace (2007). Her poetry appears in three Canadian Anthologies: Canada in Us Now: (1976), edited by Herald Head; Other Voices: Writings by Blacks in Canada (1985), edited by Lorris Elliott; and Fire on the Water (1992), edited by George Elliott Clarke. Her writing brings a unique and interesting perspective about African Nova Scotians. A dynamic and inspiring speaker, she has a gift for intriguing and engaging her audiences.

If This Is Freedom continues the story of struggle for Loyalist settlers in Nova Scotia after the American Revolutionary War. In the black settlement of Birchtown, times are especially hard for the former slaves. They face the difficulties of a hardscrabble existence and continued discrimination from their white counterparts.

Like many desperate Birchtowners, Sarah Redmond has signed an indenture agreement, a work contract meant to protect her rights and ensure a living wage. Sarah’s employers, the Blyes, do not honour the agreement, and Sarah and her family are all but shattered when Sarah takes a wrong step – one she will come to regret as it sets off a chain of unusual events that put her under further pressure. With her faith in the settlement running dry and the Birchtowners abandoning the settlement, Sarah is perplexed and soon faces the taxing option of whether to hold on to the only real life she has ever known or let go. At once a stand-alone story and a companion to Gloria Ann Wesley’s previous novel, Chasing Freedom, this story about moral courage and the enduring strength of dreams shares history with us in a way that is both honest and emotional.

Get the book

The book is available for loan from public libraries, university and NSCC libraries located across the province. Click here to get a full list.

The book is available for purchase in many book stores across Nova Scotia as well as various online booksellers.