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Eva Stachniak


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Left for the Library

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013

As an Evergreen Award Nominee I was asked for a guest blog on the importance of libraries in my life. Here is what I wrote for Open Book Ontario:

Libraries have always been an essential part of my life. In the Poland of my childhood books were inexpensive, but the most popular ones disappeared from bookstores as soon as they arrived, and thus a library offered the best chance to get them. Libraries were plentiful, though ruled much more sternly than the Canadian libraries I use now. A librarian, even the most friendly one, was a custodian of vast, inaccessible bookshelves, a censor who might decide that a book I craved was “too serious” for me and refuse to let me take it home. 

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Writing The Winter Palace: Inspiration

Writing The Winter Palace: Inspiration

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011

I am often asked about the inspiration for  “The Winter Palace.”

I am Canadian, but I am also Polish and in the Polish consciousness, Catherine the Great has always held a prominent place. This powerful and enigmatic woman whose love life intrigues and shocks generation after generation has crushed Poland and changed the course of her history.

I was drawn to Catherine for some time. Like me, she is an immigrant who had to re-invent herself, a German princess who came to Russia when she was fourteen. She is a powerful woman who survived and triumphed in a misogynous world and her presence towered over the eighteenth century Europe, the time I find irresistible.

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