"I want my readers to discover ‘the story under the story,’ the place where truth lies and where reader and writer connect at the heart. I imagine it as a journey where surprises, like small treasures or secrets may be unearthed."

Edythe Anstey Hanen is a finalist (fiction) in the Whistler Independent Book Awards. The winners will be announced at the Whistler Writers Festival October 17-20


Have dreams. Must travel.

Nine Birds Singing is the debut novel of Edythe Anstey Hanen, an award-winning short story writer and long-time journalist. Edythe’s beautifully-crafted novel is already receiving critical acclaim from noted literary figures including Jack Hodgins and Nick Bantock. Patrick Taylor calls it “a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of delights.”

Maddie is a writer of local history but wants to use her words to unlock the hidden truths that lay just below the surface of her life. But it’s magnetic words on a refrigerator door – Have dreams. Must travel – that push Maddie into the journey she must take: the search for what she has yearned for all her life: independence and freedom from the abusive fanaticism of her parents’ religious beliefs.

From Vancouver in the sixties to present day Mexico and a small island on the Canadian west coast, Nine Birds Singing is a love affair with words. It weaves through past glories and youthful hubris in a search for understanding and acceptance. Profound friendship, skewed love and loss all play a role in Maddie’s search for redemption.

Praise for Nine Birds Singing

In Nine Birds Singing, Edythe Anstey Hanen’s appealing narrator Maddie recalls and examines her own search for independence from her parents’ restrictive values. The writer and Maddie, together, gather the reader in to share an intimate, wise, and moving tale.

Jack Hodgins, Governor General’s Award winner and author of Spit Delaney’s Island

If, like me, you despair for the collapse of the English language take comfort. In Nine Birds Singing you will discover a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of delights. Edythe Anstey Hanen not only uses the basic blocks of language, words, to propel her characters and her story, each word has been selected with meticulous care with attention to its meaning and its ability to resonate. The work is a symphony for the logophile. Don’t miss it.

Patrick TaylorUSA Today, New York Times and Globe and Mail best-selling author of the Irish Country Doctor series including An Irish Country Cottage (2018)

Nine Birds Singing is a finely written book, lovingly crafted, poignant and perceptive. A tale of gradual self-understanding, awakening and ultimate release.

Nick Bantock, Author of the Griffin and Sabine Trilogy; My Fool’s Heart: A Pop-up Book of Love (2017) and Dubious Documents: A Puzzle (Wordplay, Ephemera, Interactive Mystery (2018).

Edythe and Leah Hanen
Edythe Anstey Hanen, with daughter Leah Hanen at the Chanticleer Book Awards

The Author

Edythe Anstey Hanen is a writer who lives on Bowen Island in British Columbia. She has published award-winning stories in several magazines and anthologies including Room Magazine; Prairie Fire; Canadian Authors Association National Voices and the University of Alberta Press Waiting: An Anthology of Essays.

She has published articles in The Globe & Mail, the National Post and the Hamilton Bay Observer and is a regular contributor to Mexconnect, an online magazine for travellers to Mexico.

Her debut novel Nine Birds Singing was published by New Arcadia Press in January, 2018.

She is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and the Federation of BC Writers.

Edythe Anstey Hanen is a finalist (fiction) in the Whistler Independent Book Awards. The winners will be announced at the Whistler Writers Festival October 17-20

Writing Awards

Whistler Independent Book Awards: June, 2019

Finalist: Novel: Nine Birds Singing

Canadian Authors Association: 2015

First prize: Short Story

Writers’ Union of Canada: May, 2013

Shortlisted: Short Story

Canadian Authors Association, December 2012

Second prize: Short Story

Federation of BC Writers: August 2013

Best Fiction of the Year

Chanticleer Book Awards: April, 2019

Semi-finalist: Novel: Nine Birds Singing

Federation of BC Writers: Fall/Winter 2014

First prize: Creative non-fiction

North Shore Writers Contest, February 2013

Honourable mention: Short Story

CBC Canada Writes, December 2012

Finalist: Short Story

Literary Writes, Federation of BC Writers: Fall/Winter 2010

First prize: Short Story