Clara Callan

Clara Callan

by Richard B. Wright
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  • critically-acclaimed
  • literary
Richard B. Wright’s celebrated novel is the powerful and moving story of two sisters and their life-changing experiences on the eve of the Second World War—a masterpiece of fiction. Clara, an independent-minded woman, struggles to observe the traditional boundaries of her small Canadian town after her sister Nora embarks on a glamorous career as a radio-soap opera star in 1930s New York. It’s a time when the growing threat of fascism in Europe is a constant worry, and people escape from reality through radio and the movies. Meanwhile, the two sisters—vastly different in personality, yet inextricably linked by the past—try to find their places within the complex web of social expectations for young women in the 1930s. Clara struggles to observe the traditional boundaries of a small and tight-knit community without relinquishing her dreams of love, freedom, and adventure. However, things aren’t as simple as they appear — Nora’s letters eventually reveal life in the big city is less exotic than it seems, and the solitude of Clara’s life is shattered by a series of unforeseeable events. These twists of fate require all of Clara’s strength and put the seemingly unbreakable bond between the sisters to the test.


Richard B. Wright, author

Richard B. Wright was the bestselling author of fourteen novels. Following the critically-acclaimed Clara Callan (2001), his novel Adultery (2004) was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award. Adultery and the Giller Prize-nominated October (2007) were both bestsellers. Wright passed away in February 2017.


  • Wright has accomplished an amazing feat by allowing his characters to emerge, fully formed and true, without authorial intrusion into their intimate psychological world, revitalizing the epistolary form in the process. - Publishers Weekly
  • [Wright] has certainly successfully entered the mind of Clara Callan. By the end of the book, she seems beyond mere authorial creation— she seems a living, breathing human being. - The Globe and Mail
  • Superb . . . A wrenching chronicle of time passing and opportunity lost. - Kirkus Reviews
  • He so successfully captures the female voice, that the long correspondences and journal entries read like an addictive crime novel. - Times Literary Supplement (UK)
  • Mr. Wright writes with the apparent ease of breathing, and he is both touching and very, very funny. - New York Times


  • Winner, 2001 Trillium Book Award
  • Winner, 2001 Governor General's Literary Award
  • Winner, 2001 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Cooke International



rights sold: US (HarperCollins), Film/TV (Ballinran)

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 448

publication date: 09/01/2001

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript