The HSW Literary Agency



Dian Day
photo: Ceilidh Auger-Day

Dian Day’s first book, The Clock of Heaven (Inanna, 2008), won a Silver Medal in the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards, and was given an honourable mention in the Globe and Mail’s list of the one hundred best books of 2009. She lives in rural Nova Scotia and is currently writing full-time, preparing the final draft of The Madrigal and planning her third novel, Tintamarre. Dian maintains a blog at

Works on Offer:

The Madrigal

Meet Frederick, a youngest son with six raucous brothers.  The only singleton in a family of twins, he sees "two‑ness everywhere," and as an adult, is still searching perpetually—but vainly—for his other half. His mother survived on social assistance and grocery cards (from their slum landlord for services rendered.) She sang beautifully—but secretly—in her deserted kitchen late at night. A one‑time child prodigy himself, Frederick is the subject of the benevolent index finger of God. While his older brothers ran wild, the sensitive and musically gifted Frederick began to sneak out of the house to sing for spare change outside of city bars and nightclubs. Through the chance intervention of a number of well‑intentioned men in the community, he ends up in a church choir, and from there, at the age of twelve, is drafted into a choir school in Toronto. He's happy to go and leaves his mother and brothers behind without a thought.  But two months before his eighteenth birthday, in public, everything crashes down, and in consequence of the events that follow, Frederick chooses against his musical destiny. 

In mid‑life, he is deliverer of Canada Post mail; teacher of Voice; keeper of secrets; caretaker of his demented mother; lousy with dates.

Still, it appears that everything is more or less satisfactory and under control—until a new neighbour moves in next door, a telemarketer starts to call, anonymous letters fill his mail bag, the date that matters gets away, and God once again starts pointing—but this time He seems a little cranky.

The Madrigalis a work of literary fiction that explores the experience of solitude, the meaning of extraordinary talent, and the role of memory throughout our lives. Rather than a coming of age story, it is a ‘coming to terms story,' as the protagonist must let go of the unfulfilled expectations of his childhood and find deliverance from the tragic end‑of‑childhood event he believes he carries responsibility for. Frederick brings a unique twist to a timeless journey of self-exploration and relationships with other

Manuscript available
Rights: World

The Clock of Heaven

Inanna Publications, October 2008

“...the only bright spot in her childhood was the three months she spent with her grandmother in a house by the sea...”

The novel’s protagonist is Esa Withrod, a young woman in despair over recent events in her personal life—a failed first relationship and resulting pregnancy—as well as the legacy of her sordid upbringing. The only bright spot in her childhood was the three months she spent with her grandmother in a house by the sea, when she was seven years old.  She returns to her grandmother's house to find that it is not possible to go back... but she is not sure that she can go forward, either.

This story explores issues of identity and of hope:  What makes us who we are?  How does that affect how we are able to cope with our environment? Can difficult relationships facilitate growth rather than despair? Can Esa work beyond the hopelessness of her past in her approach to the future? There is no final redemption, but Esa at the last is clear that “whatever we can imagine, more is possible.”

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada

Praise for The Clock of Heaven:

“…finely attuned to the imaginative leaps and sensory palette of childhood…. [The Clock of Heaven is] smartly conceived and movingly executed, and there's no choice but to read on…. Day's descriptive writing, from character traits to scene setting, is crisply evocative…. The surging plot trajectory integrates grim humour, uncompromising pathos, an expertly wrangled supporting cast and a subtly woven mystery.”

-- Globe & Mail

The Clock of Heaven is the first novel by Nova Scotia author Dian Day, and it's an excellent debut from beginning to end…. Dian Day is a skillful writer, giving us just enough details from Esa's childhood to make the reader marvel that Esa has done as well as she has…. According to her bio details, Dian Day is now at work on a second novel. I certainly recommend her first one, and look forward to the next.”

-- Prairie Fire Magazine: Review of Books