Halifax, Nova Scotia

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Halifax Central Library | 10am - 3pm

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Featured Authors, Poets, Story Tellers and Special Guests

Word On The Street Halifax is one of many festivals that contribute significantly to the economic wealth of Nova Scotia.  We do more than place writers on stage. We proudly host some of the finest talent in Canadian literature, with a strong focus on Atlantic Canada. This year we celebrate our 25th anniversary.  Save the date and join in the celebrations!

Devonna Edwards – Sawbones: Hospitals, Institutions, Medicine and Nursing

A fascinating non-fiction history in photography & prose by nurse/author Devonna Edwards of the evolution of hospitals and related institutions in HRM (oldest & most specialized hospitals in NS). 269 years from the founding of Halifax to 2018; parallels the story of disease & medicine and how medical doctors and nurses evolved as professions to cope with the ever-changing threats from ancient and modern diseases, catastrophe and war. Follow the evolution of societal attitudes towards less fortunate souls who were often victims of circumstance, tragedy, discrimination or disability. Contains 230 photographs/sketches of historical structures, many of which no longer exist; plus fascinating anecdotes: poems, ‘grave-robbing’; ‘saved by the bell’; ‘ghost’ stories at the Halifax Infirmary, the Nova Scotia Hospital & George’s Island tunnels … more.. Bonus chapters: temporary hospitals of the Halifax Explosion and WWI and WWII hospital ships. A most comprehensive book: accurate, sad, inspiring, shocking, and revealing.

Born in Halifax, N.S. as the eldest daughter (seven girls and three boys) of ten children to John and Mary O’Brien, Devonna was raised in the village of Fairview (then a suburb of Halifax) in an Irish and Acadian household.

Inspired by her pharmacist father, she chose nursing as her profession, going on to graduate from the Halifax Infirmary on Queen Street as a nurse (; she would work in her chosen field for over twenty-five years.

Today she lives in suburban Halifax with her husband of almost fifty years, Don, who calls Devonna a ‘history junkie’ and she suggests that she is likely guilty as charged, for there is nothing she enjoys more than scouring old newspapers, journals, maps and visiting old bookstores and libraries in her spare time. Her appetite to learn about the past became insatiable. It always amazed her to see how far society has progressed in the field of health and medicine … and how institutions and patient care have dramatically evolved over the years. It was on one of her many visits to the Provincial Archives (NSARM) that she first began to gather and collect old photographs and information on the many institutions within the Halifax-Dartmouth area (HRM). As the collection began to build, she soon realized that uncovering a wealth of information was, in a word, fascinating. That research led her to develop and hone her passion for writing historical publications.