Book touches on harsh realities

Nanaimo author Diane Bestwick addresses China’s one-child policy.

Diane Bestwick’s 296-page novel And a Bird Sang was published in June.

Diane Bestwick’s 296-page novel And a Bird Sang was published in June.

When a young woman discovers she’s pregnant with her second child, she suddenly finds herself faced with a gut-wrenching decision of having a forced abortion or risk an illegal pregnancy.

That’s the premise behind Nanaimo-based author Diane Bestwick’s book, And a Bird Sang, which was published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform in late June.

“It’s her struggle,” Bestwick said about the book. “The story is not only for a Chinese woman, there is a man’s story through it as well.”

Bestwick, whose cousin is city councillor Bill Bestwick, spent nearly a decade living in China and began writing the book in 2006.

On Friday (Sept. 12), Diane Bestwick will be  speaking about her book and sharing her experiences in China at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library.

And a Bird Sang focuses on the story of a Chinese woman named Lei, who happens to have a four-year-old child when she learns she’s pregnant, which is illegal under China’s family planning policy.

“The story goes on about her struggles with her own parents, her in-laws and with society and what to do,” Bestwick said.

Bestwick’s adventure to People’s Republic of China, began when she decided to head over and teach for a few months, which turned into an eight-year stay.

“They treated me so well,” Bestwick said about the people in China. “Eventually my colleagues that I worked with and people that I met in the countryside shared their stories with me.”

Bestwick got the idea to create the book while in China and taking online writing classes at Vancouver Island University.

“It could have been about anything,” Bestwick said about her initial idea to create a novel. “But I sensed my colleagues were going through an abortion and there was some sadness around certain things.”

The biggest challenge for Bestwick was ensuring that her storyline would be authentic and at one point questioned writing the book.

“I was so afraid,” Bestwick said. “I am a western woman looking on the outside. Do I even have a right to do this? … If you’re a writer you should be able to get inside people’s minds.”

Bestwick added that she spent countless hours researching and had locals check her work for accuracy and authenticity.

“I had so many people, male and female, in China and here [in Canada] make sure that it wasn’t my imagination,”she said. “I am calling it an authentic novel … and I have yet to hear someone say ‘this is not a true story Diane.’”

She speaks at the Harbourfront library on Friday (Sept. 13) at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit www.virl.bc.ca/event/and-bird-sang-author-event and for info on And a Bird Sang, please visit www.amzn.to/1xqwPJw. For additional information on Bestwick please visit www.dianebestwick.wordpress.com

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sofia Low, left, Delilah Maisonneuve, Madi Hickey, Alayna Black, and Maya Wilch, Departure Bay Eco-School students, will turn down the temperature and wear sweaters on Feb. 4, National Sweater Day. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo students will don sweaters this week as part of energy-saving challenge

Departure Bay Eco-School’s green energy team challenges other classes on National Sweater Day

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo’s NRGH

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All seniors in long-term care on the Island will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
UPDATE: Snowfall warning issued for Nanaimo area, up to 5 cm forecast

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
New positive COVID-19 case at Nanaimo care home, where outbreak was declared

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence employee is isolating, says Island Health

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a hatchback and a taxi minivan at the intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets on Friday afternoon. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver hurt as taxi and hatchback crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened Friday at intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read