Alumni Book Nook: Anthony Bidulka (BA’83, BEd’91, BComm’91)

From Sweetgrass Bridge is the forthcoming book written by Bidulka, an award-winning Saskatchewan author of mystery, suspense, and thriller novels

Anthony Bidulka (BA’83, BEd’91, BComm’91) is an award-winning author of mystery, suspense, and thriller novels who has toured extensively throughout Canada and the United States. His second book, Flight of Aquavit, was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Best Men’s Mystery, making him the first Canadian to win in that category.

Bidulka is one of the College of Arts and Science’s 2020 Alumni of Influence. He is also a member of the USask Alumni Advisory Board and the chair of the Alumni Association Awards Committee. Here, Bidulka talks about his forthcoming book, a mystery titled From Sweetgrass Bridge that will be published by Stonehouse Publishing and is scheduled for release on June 1, 2024.

What is the focus of your new book?

A nation holds its breath. On a perfect prairie summer evening, Saskatchewan Roughrider Dustin Thomson goes missing. As the Green & White’s first primary quarterback born in the province and first Indigenous quarterback, Thomson is beloved and celebrated. Mistrusting the police investigation, the family hires Merry Bell P.I. to find the football star. From the dark waters below Sweetgrass Bridge to the lands of Little Turtle Lake First Nation, Merry seeks answers while dealing with her continuing transition, swelling loneliness, a floundering career, well-meaning crossdressing assistant, and having to decide whether the people in her life are friend or foe.

Did your education at USask play a role in researching and/or writing this book? If so, how?

Two USask alumni provided much needed and important input. First, Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Calder (BA’63, MA’65); oddly enough I did not consult with Dr. Calder for his prodigious accomplishments in the fields of literature and education (he is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on W. Somerset Maugham), but rather for his vast, at-the-ready knowledge of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team, which plays a vital role in this book. Second, Priscilla Settee (BEd’87, PhD’07) Professor Emerita, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Settee generously agreed to read From Sweetgrass Bridge and provide guidance in areas where I have written about Indigenous characters or Indigenous experiences.

What are five adjectives that you would use to describe your book?

Tense, vivid, layered, humorous, untraditional

Why would you recommend your book to USask alumni?

I have dedicated my career to writing traditional genre novels in an untraditional way, developing a body of work that often features my Saskatchewan roots and underrepresented, diverse main characters. I tell serious stories in accessible, entertaining, sometimes humorous ways.

What other books have you written?

The Merry Bell Books:
  • From Sweetgrass Bridge (2024)
  • Livingsky (2023)

Stand-alone novels:
  • Going to Beautiful (2022)
  • Set Free (2016)

The Adam Saint Books:
  • The Women of Skawa Island (2014)
  • When The Saints Go Marching In (2013)

The Russell Quant Mysteries:
  • Dos Equis (2012)
  • Date With a Sheesha (2010)
  • Aloha, Candy Hearts (2009)
  • Sundowner Ubuntu (2007)
  • Stain of the Berry (2006)
  • Tapas on the Ramblas (2005)
  • Flight of Aquavit (2004)
  • Amuse Bouche (2003)

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If you’re a reader, when making your reading choices, I thank you for supporting Saskatchewan and Canadian authors.