Books and Publications


A witness in words and drawings to the Reena Virk Trials 1998-2000 Winner of the Pat Lowther Award, 2002

In 1999 and 2000, two Victoria teenagers were convicted of the murder of their schoolfellow, fourteen-year-old Reena Virk. Of the more than 500 drawings she prepared as courtroom artist for the trials, Heather Spears has selected some 50 to accompany the poems that record her experience of the process. An epilogue by the poet's niece, Holly Spears, presents yet another perspective of the trials, that of a young person.

Required Reading
Wolsak and Wynn 2000, IBSN 0-919897--70-3 96p, 8 1/2x10", 21 poems, 49 drawings, epilogue by Holly Spears. Price: $19.00
May be ordered from General Publishing,
325 Humber College Blvd.
Toronto ON M9W 7C3
1-800-387-0172 (ON and QUE)
1-800-387-0172 (rest of Canada)
416-213-1919 ext 350

"It is a story that should be told. And Spears has done it rivetingly, her text and images working together to powerful effect." Barbara Carey, Toronto Star

"A tremendously brave collection of poems and drawings."
Mitchell Parry, The Malahat Review

"Remarkable in its refusal to sentimentalize."

"The sketches (are) inexorable in detailing expression and posture….the poems…as straightforward and clear as running water.
"This is more than the required reading of a body: it is necessary to 'mark, learn and inwardly digest' this book and consider seriously our society and the teens who will make the future."

Joanna M Weston, The Dalhousie Review

"provides a framework in which Reena's life and her death are verified, preserved and remembered."

Rita Donoven, Arc

The soft room

At Saanich police station
they've set aside a room –
"Normally," a sergeant says, "there's stuffed animals
there's a love seat
it's used to interview children
in cases of child abuse
It's known as the soft room"

a love seat

the video is bad the black
machine swivelled at the judge so that the tiny heads
of mother and girl enlongate, dull curtains a lot
of static and flack
and now the prosecutor lifts her arm, aims the remote
fast forwards while the sleeve
of her gown widens and after a silence
the inanimate voices resume,
one childish one a man's
hours of it
"You are being charged
with murder do you understand?"
This is the soft room
"I didn't do anything.
I wanna go home."
This is normally.


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