Resources & Critiques

For recent news, visit the Buzz page. Highlights from reviews are quoted in the Muse area and Conceit area of this website.

Awards and Lists
Essays and Academic Response
Print Reviews
Interviews, Videos, and Audio Files
On-line Reviews
Reviews of Translations
Articles by Mary
SPiN Writing Group

Awards and Lists

December 8, 2013. Robert Wiersema chose Muse as one of his top fiction picks on CBC’s North by Northwest.
July 6, 2013. Emanuele Sana won the best director award at the Caffeina Festival, Viterbo, Italy, for his booktrailer for L’amante del papa, the Italian translation of Muse.
June 28, 2013. The Toronto Star picked Muse for “The Best of Summer Reading: The Top Twenty.” Also in “The Books of Summer,” Hamilton Spectator, July 4, 2013.
October 16, 2010. Conceit named one of Canada Reads’ Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade.
March 8, 2010. Conceit included in list of favourite women’s history books for Women’s History Month (U.S.)
December 2008. Abebooks picked Conceit for its Canadian Books of the Year — The Top Ten Hottest New Canadian Books for 2008.
April 26, 2008. At the BC Book Prizes gala, Conceit was awarded the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for 2008Conceit was also featured in the tour of Northern BC, April 13-18.
April 10, 2008. CS Richardson won an honourable mention from the Alcuin Society for the design of Conceit.
December 1, 2007. Conceit was chosen by The Globe and Mail as one of its Best Books of 2007, p. D6.
December 2007. Quill & Quire chose Conceit as one of its Books of the Year for 2007.
September 17, 2007. Conceit was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize for 2007.

Essays and Academic Response

April 10, 2015. “Fabula Argentea: Mary Novik’s Muse,” critique by Maria Vigornia in The Ramblings of a Reader.
Autumn 2014. “Women’s Public Voices,” review essay on Muse by Terri R. Baker, Canadian Literature, #222, p. 179.
November 2013. Solange’s Petrarch: Reclaiming Female History in Mary Novik’s Muse, essay by Terri Baker, accompanied by a review of Muse, Historical Novels Review, #66.
October 18, 2013. “Mary Novik Explores Medieval History in New Novel,” profile of Mary Novik by Erin McPhee, North Shore News, pp. 18-19, 38.
September 19, 2013. “Muse’s Heroine Enchants Poets and Popes,” profile of Mary Novik by David Chau, Georgia Straight, p. 78.
June 3, 2013. Terri Baker presented “Un-Donne by Conceit” at the 2013 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, ACCUTE, University of Victoria, BC.
Fall 2012. Andrea King’s essay, “Haunting Love in Anne Hebert’s Les fous de Bassan and Mary Novik’s Conceit,” appeared in Canadian Literature, #214, pp. 31-45. This essay won the Association of Canadian and Quebec Literature prize in 2010.
August 25, 2012. “Codling,” Seana Graham’s essay on language in Conceit and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, at Confessions of Ignorance.
April 2010. “Conceited Donne,” essay on Conceit by Margaret Maurer, John Donne Journal 28 (2009), pp 163-167.
November 7, 2009. Terri Baker presented “Into the Spaces Left by Men: Mary Novik’s Womanly Vision in Conceit,” at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference, San Francisco.
July 2009. Terri Baker received her MA degree for “Renaissance Parables of Duplicity in Vanora Bennett’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman and Mary Novik’s Conceit.”
May 13, 2009. Holly Faith Nelson included Conceit in her roundup on Donne in Year’s Work in English Studies, Vol. 88 (Oxford University Press, 2009).
Spring 2009. Conceit reviewed in “Adult Canadian Books for Strong Teenage Readers,” School of Library Studies, University of Alberta, p. 99.
February 16, 2009. Edward O’Connor reviewed Conceit in “The Poet and His Headstrong Daughter,” in The Fiddlehead, No. 238 (Winter 2009), pp. 98-100.
December 2008. Review of  Conceit by Jeanne Shami, Wascana Review, Vol. 41, Nos. 1&2 (2006/2008), pp. 131-138.  The essay also discusses Wit, The Calligrapher, and the “voiceprint” of John Donne.

Print Reviews

Spring 2014. Review of Muse by Lorrie Miller, Room Magazine, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 93-94.
Winter/Spring 2014. Review of Muse by Linda Rogers, Pacific Rim Review of Books, Vol 9, No. 2 (Issue 19), p. 53.
September 2013. Review of Muse by Dana Hansen, Quill & Quire, Vol. 79, No. 7, p. 26.
August 17, 2013. “The Muse Abides,” review of Muse by Athena McKenzie, Globe and Mail, p. R10.
August 17, 2013. “Love Poetry’s Labour Lost,” review of Muse by Robert J. Wiersema, The Vancouver Sun, p. C7. Also appeared in The Province, The Edmonton Journal, and The Star Phoenix.
August 17, 2013. “A Medieval Woman’s Work is Never Done,” review of Muse by Jennifer Pawluk, Winnipeg Free Press, p. A1.
June 9, 2013. Review of Muse, “Solange and the Flaming Spear,” by Joan Givner, BC Bookworld, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer 2013), pp. 24, 26. It’s on page 22 of this on-line copy.
March 14, 2009. “Through a Glass Darkly,” review of Conceit by Linda Rogers, The Pacific Rim Review of Books, No. 10 (Fall/Winter 2009), p. 10.
April 25, 2008. Caroline Skelton awarded tongue-in-cheek prizes to the five finalists for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The North Shore News, p. 19.
Fall 2007. “17th-century Immersion: Donne & Daughter,” by Gudrun Will, Vancouver Review, No. 15, p. 25.
October 13, 2007. “A New View of John Donne: Novel Mixes History, Grotesque Fantasy,” by Pat Donnelly, The Montreal Gazette, Books Section, p. 14. Reprinted in The Times Colonist (Victoria), October 21, 2007.
September 8, 2007. “Mary Novik’s Conceit: A Magnificent Novel of 17th-century London. Donne, Pepys, Walton–and you are there,” review by Jim Bartley, Globe & Mail, pp. D1, 8, 25.
September 7, 2007. Profile of Mary Novik, “Passion Inspires Conceit,” by Caroline Skelton, North Shore News, pp. 15-16.
September 1, 2007. “A Passion Out of Time,” review of Conceit by Joe Wiebe, The Vancouver Sun, p. C10. Reprinted in The Edmonton Journal, October 14, 2007.
August 20, 2007. Starred review of Conceit in Quill & Quire by Mary Soderstrom, September 2007, p. 59.  See also Mary Soderstrom’s blog “Recreating Eden” for August 28, 2007 and January 2, 2008.

Interviews, Videos, and Audio Files

April 17, 2014. Pope’s Palace in Avignon, Setting of My Novel Muse, a YouTube video.
October 31, 2013. The Hazlitt Offensive: Mary Novik, questionnaire conducted by Hazlitt magazine.
September 28, 2013. Influence interview with Jared Bland, “I had to get over it. Fast”, The Globe and Mail, p. R16.
August 31, 2013. Interview with Tracy Sherlock, “Fictional Papal Mistress Tells Story of Avignon,” Vancouver Sun, p. B15. Also appeared in the Calgary Herald, The Montreal Gazette, and The Windsor Star.
July 8, 2013. L’amante del papa, Mary Novik, il booktrailer, a YouTube booktrailer for the Italian edition of Muse.
October 18, 2010. Janet Nichol interviewed Mary Novik in “Past and Present,” Room Magazine, Vol. 33, No.3 (Fall 2010).
May 9, 2010. “The Writing Life”, Eric Forbes’s in-depth interview with Mary Novik about Conceit at the Book Addict’s Guide to Good Books. Also appears as “Following Ideas Haphazardly“.
November 19, 2008. I talk from my Vancouver home about the inspiration for Conceit on my first YouTube video.
October 29, 2008. Sandra Gulland interviewed me at her historical research blog, Baroque Explorations.
September 9, 2008. Jared Bland interviewed Mary Novik in his Five Questions series on The Walrus Blogs.
August 2008. Doubleday editor Lara Hinchberger interviewed Mary Novik in a podcast at
August 2, 2008. Sheryl MacKay talked with Mary Novik on North by Northwest, CBC Radio One.
December 2007. Mary Novik reads from Conceit and talks about her inspiration in two audio files at Authors Aloud.

On-line Reviews (selected)

April 15, 2015. Review of Muse by Caitlin Hicks on Goodreads.
December 12, 2014. Review of Muse by Aditi Saha on her blog, Book Stop Corner, Kolkata, India.
January 17, 2014. Review of Muse by Susan Fish in the Guelph Mercury.
October 27, 2013. Review of The Afternoon Tea (with Mary Novik) at the Vancouver Writers Fest 2013 by Alicia Copp Mokkonen.
September 17, 2013. Review of Muse by Charity Gaspar at Life After (My) Kids.
August 29, 2013. Review of Muse by Mirella Patzer at Historical Novel Review.
August 26, 2013. Review of Muse by Sukasa at
August 2013. Review of Muse by Teresa Goff in Trek, the University of BC alumni magazine.
August 15, 2013. Review of Muse at the blog Buried in Print.
July 30, 2013. Review of Muse by Andrea at Cozy Up With a Good Read.
July 9, 2013. Review of Conceit by Andrea at Cozy Up With a Good Read.
August 13 – September 16, 2012. The Goodreads group, The Imprinted Life, discussed Conceit on-line. Comments on the novel’s chapters can still be read at Conceit–The Novel by Mary Novik.
June 24, 2012. Review of Conceit at the Historical Novel Society website by Margaret Barr.
August 2011. The Book Haven group at Goodreads read Conceit this month. The comments can be read here.
January 28, 2011. Dana Huff reviewed Conceit at Much Madness is Divinest Sense and interviewed me as well.
September 29, 2010. Conceit reviewed at East North East, the Atlantic Canada News portal, and at The Reader, a publication of  Halifax Public Libraries.
September 26, 2010. Sarah Johnson compared two novels about John Donne–Mary Novik’s Conceit and Maeve Haran’s The Lady and the Poet– at Reading the Past.
May 5, 2010. Catherine Hawley reviewed Conceit at the UK books blog, Juxtabook. Catherine says more about Conceit here.
January 29, 2010. Mirella Patzer reviewed Conceit at Historical Novel Review blogspot.
April 2009. “That Dickensian Quality,” Shannon’s review of Conceit, is followed by reviews by other Goodreads members. Also posted here.
March 13, 2009. Conceit by Mary Novik,” review by Christine Bode at her blog, Scully Love.
January  26, 2009. “It Was Treason to Give Away Something That Belonged to Me,” review of Conceit by Kenneth MacKendrick at
January 8, 2009. “About the Novel Conceit,” review by Anne Compton, News@UNB.
December 4, 2008. Conceit is included in “The Ten Best Historical Novels I Read This Year” by Margaret Donsbach at She reviewed Conceit here.
July 15, 2008. Monnibo reviewed Conceit at her blog, Monniblog.
December 21, 2007. Inkslinger reviewed Conceit at her blog The Overdecorated Bookcase.
November 25, 2007. Conceit reviewed by Cipriano at BookPuddle.
November 17, 2007. John Miedema reviewed Conceit at his Slow Reading blog.

Reviews of Translations (selected)

October 11, 2017. “Les titres et moi“, review of Muse (French) by Sous le ciel,
June 2015. “Une fresque médiévale,” review of Muse (French) by Paul Toutant, Le Journal du Bel Âge, p. 53.
May 24, 2015. “Femme à Avignon,” review of Muse (French) by Mathieu Perreault, La Presse (Montreal), p. 118.
April 12, 2015. “Destin extraordinaire d’une femme de la Renaissance,” review article on Muse (French) by Marie-France Bornais, Le Journal de Quebec, p. D20.
March 7, 2015. Review of Muse by Jules at Jules se livre.
February 2, 2014. Review of L’amante del Papa by Stefano Carboni at Gli Amanti dei Libri.
December 2, 2013. Review of L’amante del Papa by Felice Laudadio Jr. at
October 18, 2013. Review by Amalia Lauritano of L’amante del Papa at
September 14, 2013. Review by Maddalena Dalli of L’amante del Papa in Economia Italiana.
August 3, 2013. Review by Francesca Bussi of L’amante del Papa in Lettera43.
July 31, 2013. Review in Thriller Magazine of L’amante del Papa, the translation of Muse into Italian by Elisabetta Colombo and Monica Ricci.

Articles by Mary

See also Backstory for Conceit and Backstory for Muse

September 12, 2013. “Getting into the Mindset of Solange” at Fiction Craft blog by Shaun Smith, Open Book Ontario.
August 31, 2013. “Solange and the Role of Women in Medieval Avignon” at blog Be Nice or Leave, Thanks.
August 30, 2013. “Social Status and the Food People Ate in 14th-century Avignon” at blog Your Hidden Shelf.
August 29, 2013. “Secrets of the Avignon Popes in Muse at blog Sukasa Reads.
August 28, 2013. Muse and the Woman Hero’s Journey” at Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s blog.
August 27, 2013. “The UNESCO World Heritage City of Avignon, the Setting for Muse at blog Good Books and a Cup of Tea.
August 26, 2013. “The Balancing Act between Fact and Fiction in Muse at blog Cozy Up with a Good Read.
August 22, 2013. “Where Do Ideas Come From?” at Retreat blog, Random House of Canada.
January 2012. My suggestions for good novels for book clubs to read in 2012: a bundle of Canadian novels, a dozen stunners to shock and delight.
February 27, 2010. Inspiration for writing Conceit, in The Guardian, Review section, p.19 print edition. First appeared at The Guardian’s Book Blog, February 22, 2010.
February 24, 2009. “A Tour of the Maritimes,” my report on my trip to Atlantic Canada, at the Insiders’ Blog at  Here is Part 1, followed by Part 2.
June 19, 2008. My office described for Writers’ Rooms at the Vancouver Writers’ Fest website.

SPiN Writing Group

Also see our website,

July 1, 2012. “SPiN Writing Group: Ten Years, Five Books, and Counting.” Jen Sookfong Lee, June Hutton, and Mary Novik describe ten wonderful years as members of SPiN at Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s blog.
October 18, 2010. Janet Nichol interviews SPiN in “Past and Present,” Room Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Fall 2010).
May 2, 2009. “Strength in Numbers: A Powerhouse Writing Group,” comment on SPiN in the Vancouver Sun, p. C6.
April 22, 2009. “From Workshop to Writing Group,” my blog on SPiN at the Writers’ Trust Blogspot.
March 8, 2009. ”Now We Three Are Six,” BC Book World, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring 2009), p. 33. It’s on p. 11 of this on-line copy.
February 24, 2009. “Raising gems, together: How three Canadian writers banded together to help each other bring their first novels into the world,” by June Hutton, Jen Sookfong Lee, and Mary Novik, Tuesday Essay, The Globe and Mail on-line.
February 18, 2009. “Writing Group Makes Good,” article on SPiN by Sarah Treleaven in Quill & Quire, March 2009, p. 7.
March 10, 2007. Mary Novik, Jen Sookfong Lee, and June Hutton were interviewed by Sheryl MacKay on North by Northwest, CBC Radio One.
Early articles on SPiN appeared in The Vancouver Sun, May 27, 2006 on p. C10 and June 9, 2007 on p. C8,  and in The Georgia Straight, June 19, 2003 on p. 29.