Jan Truss, born Jean Degg in Staffordshire, UK (daughter of William and Catherine Degg) was aptly described as a force of nature by her friends, family and colleagues. She died at her country home near Water Valley, Alberta on Tuesday, February 22, 2022
at the age of 96 years.
An award-winning author, Jan taught literature, art and music to students in Alberta before she began writing her own stories. In 1972 she won the Alberta Search for a Novelist competition with “Bird at the Window”. “A Very Small Rebellion” was
her second novel, originally published in 1977, and her third novel, “Jasmin”, won the Ruth Schwartz Award. Her other novels include” Summer Goes Riding”, “Red” and “Peter’s Moccasins”. Her short stories have appeared in such magazines
as Redbook, Chatelaine, on CBC radio, and in various collections.
As Jan wrote in her book “Paper Bird” –
“I watched the silent moon passing and whispered over and over my first Latin word, that verb – renascor, renascor – thinking I understood what it truly meant for me, my forever.”
Renascor is a Latin verb meaning to be reborn. May she fly like the phoenix from the ashes!...
If you can, check out her half-page interview about her poverty-stricken childhood in volume 35 of the "Something About the Author" encyclopedias; at one point, she talks about walking five miles to get to the library!
WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
Bird at the Window (novel), Macmillan, 1974, Harper, 1980.
("Teenage girl struggles with the problem of her pregnancy.")
A Very Small Rebellion (juvenile novel), J.M. Lebel, 1977.
Oomerahgi Oh! and A Very Small Rebellion (juvenile; contains
"Oomerahgi Oh!," a one-act play, first produced in Calgary, Alberta,
at University of Calgary, 1974; and "A Very Small Rebellion," a one-act
play, first produced in Calgary at Alberta Theatre Projects, 1975),
Playwrights Canada, 1978.
("In the first of these two plays, a stranger tempts a family with items
from his magic box. The second play recounts the life of Louis Riel who
led an army of Indians in revolt against the Canadian government in
The Judgment of Clifford Sifton (juvenile; one-act play; first produced
in Calgary at Alberta Theatre Projects, 1978), Playwrights Canada, 1978.
Jasmin, (juvenile), Atheneum, 1982.
("Jasmin is the oldest child in her large and poor family. She can't do
her homework because of all the noise, and she's failing the sixth grade.
Her science fair project has just been ruined by her brothers. Reading a
book of poems for solace, she is inspired to do 'as she do please', and
decides to run away.")
(With Nancy Mackenzie) Peter's Moccasins (juvenile), illustrated by
Philip Spink, Reidmore Books (Edmonton), 1987.
("Peter's (Cree) grandmother made him a new pair of beautiful, soft
moccasins but he is ashamed to wear them. At school everyone else
wears sneakers and Peter doesn't want to be different. Things change
however when classmate Ann brings a pair of store-bought moccasins for show and tell.")
("Twelve year old boy forms a friendship with the girl next door. Calgary setting.")