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Wanda Ryder - Manitoba Author

Updated on July 24, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

A librarian through and through, Virginia Allain writes about book topics and information for library users and librarians.

Meet the Author: Wanda Ryder, Canadian Author and Playwright

I feel privileged to have become friends with this author over ten years ago. She participated in the Meet the Author events I hosted during my time as a library director in South Texas. Wanda and her husband wintered in the Rio Grande Valley, so I looked forward to their return each year when the chill Canadian winter blanketed Manitoba with snow.

Now that I'm in Florida, it's a little harder to keep in touch. I was pleased to find that Wanda has a new book out, called Sisters in Transit.

(book cover photo courtesy of Wanda Ryder)

Sisters in Transit - Book Cover

Sisters in Transit - Back Cover

More about the Author - Wanda Ryder

Wanda Ryder lives in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, with her husband, George. She has been writing for many years and has published articles as well as two short story collections: From a Distance and Beyond the Perimeter, and two novels: Prairie Sailor and Free to Go.

She was also a co-author of Ghost Towns of Manitoba which became a Canadian best seller and was awarded a Margaret McWilliams medal from the Manitoba Historical Society. Playwriting is also a major interest and Wanda has had plays performed on stage, radio, and television.

Wanda Ryder

Wanda Ryder
Wanda Ryder

Wanda Ryder's Latest Book, Traveling Light

(front and back cover used with permission from Wanda Ryder)

Front cover for Traveling Light
Front cover for Traveling Light | Source
Back cover
Back cover | Source

Ghost Towns of Manitoba Awarded a Medal

from the Manitoba Historical Society

Here's the background on the honor (description from the Manitoba Historical Society website):

The purpose of the Margaret McWilliams Award, one of the oldest literary prizes in Canada, is to encourage the study and interpretation of the history of Manitoba. It was instituted in 1955 by the Manitoba Historical Society as a memorial to Margaret S. McWilliams. There are three categories:

Scholarly History Book

Popular History Book

Local History Book

Wanda Ryder's Books on Amazon - or you can buy them from the Portage La Prairie Art Centre (see link further down)

Free To Go
Free To Go

Wanda Ryder has crafted a warm story that tracks a woman coping with major life changes. Nora dismisses her unease after her daughter's wedding and the disagreement between her two grown children. When her husband abruptly leaves her and their farm for an old flame, the basis for her whole life shifts. While struggling to grasp his defection and reassemble her life, an even greater loss threatens. She discovers that her son has leukemia.

It's a moving story that speaks to any woman who's suffered the defection of a spouse or a major family illness. It has some quirky characters, some sad scenes, some hopeful scenes, even some romance and overall is an engaging read. It takes place in Winnipeg and Manitoba.

For those who like Nancy Thayer, Luanne Rice or Anne Tyler, this will suit you.

Prairie Sailor (book cover)
Prairie Sailor (book cover)

Prairie Sailor

PRAIRIE SAILOR is a paper back, 124 pages in length, ISBN; 1-56002-757-6.

It is based on an actual sailing trip from San Diego to the Big Island of Hawaii undertaken by three young Canadian men. All of the sailing experiences described are factual -- as written in the log by the men who made that voyage on the Genaro. The characters in the story, however, are fictional. Prairie Sailor is an adventure tale that can be enjoyed by all ages.

An excerpt:

'When the wind hit, its velocity was about 50 knots. "What'll we do?" Gerry shouted. "The hatches are open and all the sails are up." But I couldn't answer as the boat heeled over and water surged into the ama hulls. We were rocketing off at incredible speeds, Genaro cranked herself into the wind and the genoa was flogging. If I'd been nervous before, I was terrified now.'

This is one of the many frightening situations faced by Allen, Gerry, and Ben when they sail from California to the Big Island of Hawaii on Allen's 35 foot trimaran, Genaro. Allan, as skipper, is responsible for his crew members. As well, he has to deal with dangerous sea conditions, lack of safety equipment on the boat, and Ben's immaturity. Problems do not diminish when their destination is reached and a frightening accident, which badly damages the boat, is compounded by their desperate shortage of money. In addition, young Ben's obnoxious behavior and frequent disappearances, create further worry.


Even now it returns to haunt me, running through my head like a video tape I can't shut off. My hands, clutched on the wheel of the Genaro, have been frozen into position ever since the unbelievable happened and she was dashed, stern-first, onto the jagged lava. Huge waves grind my beloved up and down against the treacherous rock and my brain registers the rending sounds of destruction. Helpless and weeping, I watch pieces of her understructure float past on the ocean as the life is crushed out of my brave little boat. Up and down, up and down, she is ripped apart, sacrificed on the ugly lava of some vengeful Hawaiian god.

The scenario is identical, whether I'm awake or sleeping. I always wake to find my pillow salt-water soaked. Tears or ocean spray? I'm never sure.

Note: As the author's son (portrayed as Allen, in the story) died of leukemia, the author's share of the proceeds was (and still is) donated to Leukemia Research.


From a Distance

by Wanda Ryder

FROM A DISTANCE is a paper back, 139 pages in length, ISBN; 1-895153-08-5. It is a collection of 14 related short stories. The location is the Canadian Prairies from about 1938 to 1953, and the main character is Sarah Scott. Most of the stories are humorous, although some sad times occur when Sarah's mother dies giving birth to a baby.

Wanda Ryder's stories acknowledge the greatness of Margaret Laurence's fiction and at the same time speak a new vision of what it was like to be a child and woman in a comparable time and place in Manitoba. Her character, Sarah Scott, takes us past the romantic versions of our prairie past to stories of repression, secrecy, denial, discovery, and genuine joy. Ryder gives us the photographs that our ancestors hid in the attic and hoped we would never find.

Order the Books

The Portage and District Art Centre and Gallery

11 - 2nd St.N.E.

Portage la Prairie, MB. Canada, R1N 1R8.

FAX: (204)239-1472

Portage La Prairie Art Centre - (with thanks to the Art Centre for the photos)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gallery at Portage La Prairie Art CentrePortage La Prairie Art Centre
Gallery at Portage La Prairie Art Centre
Gallery at Portage La Prairie Art Centre
Portage La Prairie Art Centre
Portage La Prairie Art Centre

The Role of Portage La Prairie in Manitoba History

Wanda Ryder's Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Other Honors for Wanda

Some years ago, Wanda Ryder's play won first place and a gold medal in the Manitoba Playwright's competition. CBC subsequently purchased and aired the play, Young Dreams, Old Dreams.

© 2010 Virginia Allain

Let Us Know That You Stopped By - Add a Comment Here

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      I lived in Canada for eight years, very interesting time. This lady sounds interesting, I will check her out.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      Once again a fascinating story and an enjoyable read.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wnada Ryder seems like a very interesting lady .

      And a Canadian woman....I'm impressed.



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