top of page

Barbara Joan Scott


Photo Credit Jazhart Studios

Published by Freehand Books

New Release

The Taste of Hunger 

In Saskatchewan in the late 1920s, a fifteen-year-old Ukrainian immigrant named Olena is forced into marriage with Taras, a man twice her age, who wants her even though she has refused him. Stuck in a hardscrabble life with a husband she despises, starved for a life of her own choosing, at every turn Olena rebels agains her husband and her fate. As Olena and Taras drag everyone around them into the maelstrom that is their marriage, they set off a chain of turbulent events whose aftershocks reverberate through generations.

In her novel, The Taste of Hunger, Barbara Joan Scott masterfully explores the pull of family, the fallout of thwarted desire, and the power of redemption and forgiveness.



"Black Diamond" wins Writers' Guild of Alberta Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award, 2021

The Taste of Hunger release date: Sept. 1/22

Sept. 12/22 Book Launch with Mikka Jacobsen at Southern Alberta Pioneers Memorial Building 7 p.m.

The Taste of Hunger reviewed by Ian Colford at Miramichi Reader. "In her debut novel Barbara Joan Scott tells a story filled with fierce passion and thwarted dreams, a story that skirts the edges of melodrama without making the plunge. The Taste of Hunger also provides a compulsive read and leaves us pondering the darkness that resides in every human heart."


Final Draft

Photo credit Keith Miller

The Taste of Hunger tops fiction bestseller lists of The Calgary Herald and The Book Publishers' Association of Alberta Booknet. Also on the list of Alberta bestsellers for September/22.

 Review by J. Jill Robinson on Goodreads. "readers will be struck by Scott’s tender, nonjudgmental engagement with and affection for her characters...heightened by Scott’s concise, meticulous prose."

Review by Jane Baird Warren on Goodreads. "THE TASTE OF HUNGER has the chops to be the next great Canadian (Prairie) novel. This multi-generational novel is set in early 20th-century Saskatchewan and tells the story of Ukrainian immigrants. It is literary, thematically powerful, and perhaps best of all, a compelling, page-turning mystery."

The Taste of Hunger is on Quill and Quire's List of Books of the Year for 2022! JoAnn McCaig says "This novel deserves to become a classic of Canadian Literature."

The Taste of Hunger is #6 on the Book Publishers' Association of Alberta Calgary bestseller list for week ending 2022-12-15 and #7 on the Calgary Herald bestseller list for week ending 2022-12-24!

The Taste of Hunger is #3 on the Book Publishers' Association of Alberta Calgary bestseller list for week ending 2023-02-16, #7 on the BPAA's Alberta bestsellers list for the week ending 2023-02-19,  and #4 on the Calgary Herald bestseller list for week ending 2023-02-25 and the week ending 2023-01-05! Thanks to everyone who put the book there.

"Black Diamond" made the shortlist for the CBC Non-Fiction prize! Click here to read the full essay. Such an honour: top 5 out of more than 2000 entries!

Just recorded a lecture on The Taste of Hunger for the Heliconian Literary Lecture Series. Click here to see the awesome lineup of readers and to see when my lecture airs.

The Taste of Hunger has been shortlisted for the $25,000 Kobzar Book Award! Click here to see the stellar list the book is in. Such an honour. 

Reader Response

A Conversation between The World and Rona



R (Rona)

W (The World)



R: Ohmygosh, I’m so tired, I went to bed last night with  50 or so pages to go  in The Taste of Hunger and couldn’t sleep for worrying about June and Marie. So finally got up and let that novel take over my life. Finished at 4 a.m.


W: Any regrets?


R: None.


W: Didn’t think so. 


R: You know, I consider myself a slow reader but the writing was so fluid, so readable, I just kind of got through it at a steady, invigorating pace, like…like..


W: Walking briskly through a prairie field? And sometimes it’s a smoothish walk and sometimes you trip on a gopher hole and fall and it’s bad news, very bad news?


R: Exactly. You know, World , considering how screwed up you are right now, I’m surprised you can—you should forgive the expression—read my response so clearly.


W: Well, I am capable of some remarkably good stuff, not just the crapola that’s in the news every day.


R: So you agree with me that Scott’s novel is remarkable?


W: How many other books have you gotten up in the middle of the night to finish in the last, say, twenty years?


R: Uh… truthfully, none.


W: Now from your perspective, you might say, “I got a lot out of that book.” But my job goes way beyond the response of one reader today. I need to be able to predict what will happen 32 years from now. Even 100 years from now. It’s in my mandate.


R: So what do you see as the future of this book?


W: I see it as part of the English-language fiction canon.


R: I was thinking along those lines too.


W: Then what else is there to say?


R: A lot, but I am too tired, having had very little sleep.


W: Well, you go take a nap. Me, I’m used to spinning and don’t require rest. For me it is not a need. Sweet dreams.


R: What if I sleepwalk?



Be well,Barb. You done good.

Rona Altrows (Award winning author and anthologist)

bottom of page