Merilyn Simonds
Front cover, The Convict Lover by Merilyn Simonds


.   Reviews & Interviews   .

Following are quotes from reviews of The Convict Lover that appeared in Canadian newspapers and magazines:

“Simonds has that lucky combination of the journalist’s eye for detail and the novelist’s gift for story and character… if Merilyn Simonds doesn’t win some major award for this book, I think we should all go on strike.”
–Audrey Thomas, Montreal Gazette

“…constantly compelling… The Convict Lover is a virtuoso performance that combines the factualness of a “true story” with the techniques of fiction. It conveys historical truth with unfailing accuracy because it is told with the vitality of imagination.”
The Financial Post

“The writing in The Convict Lover is consistently fine, and at times inspired…the book’s themes are grand ones: the enduring power of words on a page, and how communication with another human being can make the unbearable bearable. For all the pain and darkness it describes, The Convict Lover is less a book about a dungeon than about letter as lifeline, which makes it a book about hope.”
The Ottawa Citizen

The Convict Lover is a riveting story that reclaims an obscure segment of Canadian history. Pushing the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, the author illuminates the experience of imprisonment… She also tells secrets – a private one, about a forbidden relationship, and a larger and darker one, about Canada’s penitentiaries.”
Queen’s Quarterly

“A tour de force. Simonds’s prose is alluring, her historical detective work is flawless…what makes The Convict Lover soar off the page, though, is Simonds’s ability to probe into the psyches of real people, and to find there imaginative truth.”
The Globe and Mail

“This is a beautifully controlled story that makes speculative use of intriguing materials. Simonds provocatively pushes the genre to its limits.”
–Jury citation, 1996 Governor General Literary Awards

For further comment, see:

“Love, Trust, and High Stone Walls,” by Christine Hamelin, Queen’s Quarterly, Vol. 103, No. 2, Summer 1996.

“Mining for Truth and Fiction,” by Robin Laurence, The Georgia Staight, October 17-24, 1996.

The Convict Lover Unlocks Prisoner’s Past,” by Wilder Penfield III, Toronto Sun, November 7, 1996.

“Liars and Damned Liars,” by Merilyn Simonds, Brick Magazine, No. 56, Spring 1997.


Algonquin College Speaker Series, September 12, 2017.


Merilyn Simonds, Author of The Convict Lover from Derek Burrows on Vimeo.

“Convict Lover Revisited,” by Peter Hendra, Kingston Whig-Standard, February 13, 2016. Read the story »

The Convict Lover adapted into new theatre production,” by Merilyn Simonds, Kingston Whig-Standard, February 3, 2016. Read the story »

“Embellishing Private Lives,” by Val Ross, The Globe and Mail, May 4, 1996.

“Merilyn Simonds: An Interview,” by Jess Joss, The Queen’s Journal Reader, November 8, 1996.

Related Documentary

“Tales from Kingston Pen,” by Ann-Marie MacDonald, CBC Doc Zone, May 2, 2015.