Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir

Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir

Julie Salverson
  • $20.00

October 2016
214 pages | ISBN 978-1-928088-25-7

When Julie Salverson discovers a link between Canada’s north and the atomic bombs that fell on Japan, she starts a ten-year journey that connects uranium, radiation, trauma and resilience in unexpected ways. From a small village outside Toronto to Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories and on to Hiroshima, she traces the radioactive trail through our society. Written with energy and hope, Lines of Flight strives to answer some of the key questions of life in the twenty-first century: how do we live in, and think about, this terribly beautiful world?

Advance Praise

“Julie Salverson is a deeply sympathetic witness to the atomic era. In this powerful memoir, the spectre of nuclear winter haunts the stories she tells. The book wrung me out. Insightful and beautifully written, it draws together Hiroshima and Port Radium, Fukushima and Port Hope, past and present.” – John O'Brian, author of Atomic Postcards: Radioactive Messages from the Cold War

“‘Only connect,’ said E. M. Forster, yet how many of us are willing to test the full implications of that directive? Julie Salverson is. Burdened at journey’s start by anxiety, guilt and a kind of existential dread, but equipped with curiosity and a sense of humour, Julie Salverson guides us through some of the darkest secrets of our shared history. She illuminates the connections between personal and social trauma in a voice so honest, so lucid and so reflective, that we are compelled to witness with her. Only connect – to see the new shoots sprouting from the bomb-blasted tree, to find the gift of hope in the midst of despair.” – Susan Olding, author of Pathologies: A Life in Essays


"Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir by Julie Salverson" (Naomi MacKinnon, Consumed by Ink, 01/24/2017)
"One of the reasons I love this memoir is her honesty about the personal journey this project has inspired her to take, and the bits of wisdom she has figured out along the way."

"Review: Trevor Harriot’s Towards a Prairie Atonement, Bill Waiser’s A World We Have Lost, and Julie Salverson’s Lines of Flight" (Jade Colbert, Globe and Mail, 01/13/2017)
"While each memoir treads its own ground, readers who enjoyed Joy Kogawa’s Gently to Nagasaki will find this a complementary title – a different take on similar themes."

"Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir" (Quill & Quire, January/February 2017)
"Her excursion takes her into some of the darkest reaches of recent history, but also illuminates the human spirit with hope and humour."


"In Conversation with Julie Salverson" (Ariel Gordon, Winnipeg Free Press, 28/01/2017)
"It’s a kind of everyperson story of being a witness to the world: how do we respond to what’s difficult and cherish what’s beautiful? Stay awake without going to Disneyland or buying a gun."

"On Writing, with Julie Salverson" (Open Book, 01/26/2017)


Click here to read the foreword and first chapter from Lines of Flight

About the Author

Julie Salverson is a playwright, librettist, scholar and non-fiction writer who teaches drama at Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada. She has published essays about the artist as witness, atomic culture, ethics and the imagination. Salverson has created projects in community engaged arts practice for many years, and works with groups to practice resiliency through the exchange and development of stories.  She is a member of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada and her plays have been produced in Canada, the US and Thailand. Visit her website at

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