Joan Clark
An Audience of Chairs


An Audience of Chairs by Joan Clark
A new novel from the author of the internationally acclaimed and best-selling Latitudes of Melt, published by Frassinelli (Italy), Piper Verlag (Germany), Meulenhoff (Holland), Kedros (Greece), Les Editions du Boreal (French), Soho (US), and Knopf (Canada).

Moranna is known in her small Nova Scotian community as “Mad Mory.” She plays complicated concerti on a piano board, writes misguided sermons for the church minister, and carves wooden replicas of her Scottish ancestors to sell to tourists. Eccentric, and cheerfully self-absorbed, the duties of mother, sister, and wife slip past Moranna's distracted gaze. But when in a moment of artistic inspiration Moranna abandons her small daughters on an uninhabited island, her children are taken from her. Decades later, struggling with her sanity, and pulled between angry self-righteousness and sorrowful guilt Moranna learns that her daughters are close at hand and that it may be possible to undo the damage, to herself and to them, on that long-ago night.

Winner of the Bennington Gate Fiction Award
The Globe and Mail Books of the Year pick
Nominated for the Evergreen Award
Nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award     
Shortlisted for The Winterset Award

“An Audience of Chairs is a brilliant achievement, one that deserves a huge audience of its own.” —Edmonton Journal

“An inspiration.” —Toronto Star

“Had me hooked on the first page.” —The Daily News (Halifax)

“Joan Clark dares to write about those who live with a disability that is not physically manifest, but makes of life a labyrinth of potential disasters.
Her risk is our benefit—if only we have the wit to live as intensely as Moranna lives. And as William Cowper has it, ‘there is a pleasure in madness’
that we all might wish to know.” —Aritha van Herk, The Globe and Mail

“Elegantly written and deeply grounded in place, this moving,
compassionate novel is far more than a story of mental illness.
Moranna’s quest is for peace, joy, and connection—the same yearnings
that drive us all.” —Quill & Quire


Length: 360pp
Setting: Scotland, Canada
Period: 1970s-present

World rights, Knopf Canada
Italian rights, Frassinelli
Film/TV, Rock Island Productions

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

Joan Clark
Photo Credit: Ned Pratt
Joan Clark is the multiple-award-winning author of several novels, short story collections for adults and novels for young readers. Her last adult novel, Latitudes of Melt, was nominated for the 2002 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2001 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Canada-Caribbean, and was a New York Times Notable Book. She was born and raised in the Maritimes and lived in western Canada before settling in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

  • Adult fiction:
  • Latitudes of Melt
  • Eiriksdottir: A Tale of Dreams and Luck
  • Swimming Toward the Light
  • The Victory of Geraldine Gull
  • From A High Thin Wire
  • Children's fiction:
  • Road to Bliss
  • Snow
  • The Word for Home
  • The Dream Carvers
  • The Moons of Madeleine
  • Wild Man of the Woods
  • The Leopard and the Lily
  • The Hand of Robin Squires
  • Thomasina and the Trout Tree