Author Sharon Butala talks about ‘writing old women’

A book is fanned open
A book is fanned open

On Dec. 8, 2020, the 2020-21 Canadian Writers in Person Lecture Series presented Canadian author Sharon Butala reading from her collection of short stories, Season of Fury and Wonder. York University Teaching Assistant Dana Patrascu-Kingsley sent the following report to YFile.

Canadian Writers in Person continues with a reading of "Season of Fury and Wonder" by Sharon Butala.
Season of Fury and Wonder by Sharon Butala

Sharon Butala is the author of 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, numerous essays and articles, some poetry and five produced plays.

In recent years her interest has turned to the lives of aging people, and to the condition of being old in our society. As described in the publisher’s blurb: “The season of fury and wonder, in Sharon Butala’s world, is the old age of women. These stories present the lives of old women – women of experience, who’ve seen much of life, who’ve tasted of its sweetness and its bitter possibilities, and have developed opinions and come to conclusions about what it all amounts to. These are stories of today’s old women, who understand that they have been created by their pasts.”

“For at least 10 years, I have been reading, thinking, and talking about being old,” the writer told the audience. She hadn’t written short stories for a while, and then “One day, a story came to me. And the stories kept coming … I was trying to deal with the big questions not only in my life, but also in the lives of my elderly friends. When I got to the end of the last stories, I knew the book was done.”

Season of Fury and Wonder focuses on the rich inner lives of old women, giving readers insight into their grief, loss, and desires. “What do seniors want (aside from a place to live and food)? Seniors want autonomy, want to be respected, want to have something meaningful to do, we want to remain a part of society.” And this is what the various characters in the book illustrate.

On Jan. 18, Carol Rose GoldenEagle will join the Canadian Writers in Person series for a talk and Q&A session on her novel, Bone Black.

Readings are free and open to any member of the public. For more information, contact Professor Leslie Sanders at or Professor Gail Vanstone at All readings are held Tuesdays from 7 to 8.30 pm on Zoom.