About the book
- Shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Drama
When it was shortlisted for the 1998 Governor General's Award for Drama, the jury said of Selkirk Avenue: "Quintessentially Canadian in its content, the play's appeal resides in McManus's skill in drawing us into the particular and varied lives of inhabitants of Winnipeg's North End over 75 years, and in doing so, speaking to all of us."
“Selkirk Avenue. It’s just one of those Winnipeg things. Say the words and a picture comes to mind. What better way, then, to tell the story of Selkirk Avenue than through the eyes of a photographer? It’s a beautifully written show, touching, and angry, and sad and wise all at once. It’s also very funny, and very ‘right’ in the way fiction can sometimes come closer to the truth than fact.” —Winnipeg Sun
About the author
Bruce McManus has written sixteen plays, including Ordinary Days, Calenture, The Chinese Man Said Goodbye and Schedules. He has lived across Canada, but has spent most of his life in Winnipeg.
This street has its own life. Mary goes, I go. It doesn't depend on any one person, just people. The river flows, no matter what happens. Sometimes I think this street ran on anger and sometimes I think it ran on hope. Sometimes I think anger and hope are the same thing. I'm going to live with the old folks now. I mean old folks from here. Those old people, they always got a bottle, even the Christians, and they got stories about Selkirk Avenue. Believe me, the stories they tell, they got it all wrong. They need me there.
Gesturing to the photos.
All these photos, they're yours. For you, this is history. For me, it is memories and I can't find anything anyway. Throw it all away if you want, just don't complain to me if you don't know anything. I'll tell you one thing. Selkirk Avenue starts somewhere in Japan, cuts down through China and the Philippines, back up through India and the Soviet Union, Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, right across Europe, through Britain, up to God's Lake and the North and ends up at McPhillips Avenue. I worked here, I loved Mary here, and I'm going to die here. What else do you want in a street?
“Selkirk Avenue. It's just one of those Winnipeg things. Say the words, and a picture comes to mind. What better way, then, to tell the story of Selkirk Avenue than through the eyes of a photographer? And that's just what…” >>
— The Winnipeg Sun
“McManus could be called Winnipeg's playwright laureate, with a reputation for realistic characters, crisp dialogue and meticulous attention to his craft. All these strengths are displayed in Selkirk Avenue, an almost faultless dramatic portrait.” >>
“A sensitive yet hard-hitting portrait, Selkirk Avenue is a roller coaster of emotions...Outrageously funny, tenderly touching and as down and dirty mean as a North End mongrel.” >>
— Uptown Magazine
“McManus has crafted a story whose broad reach is matched by its sure grasp. The history of Selkirk Avenue as a haven-cum-springboard for successive minorities is told in a complex but comprehensible and emotionally irresistible tale that winds back and…” >>
— The Winnipeg Free Press