GRAND FALLS, New Brunswick — In 1755, thousands of French-speaking settlers were expelled by the British from their homeland of Nova Scotia. They were called Acadians and they were fishermen and farmers. More than 250 years later, a British novelist has brought this harrowing episode in North American history to life in his novel, “The Scattered.”
“The Great Expulsion was a calculated act of ethnic cleansing,” says author, Richard Holledge, in a press release. “A willful attempt to destroy a people.”
Thousands did die, but this Aug 8-21, approximately 50,000 Acadian descendants will journey to the forests and lakes of New Brunswick and Maine for the fifth Acadian World Congress to honor their tragic forebears and celebrate their own triumphant survival.
Holledge will be among them to discuss his novel, “The Scattered,” a moving account of the Great Expulsion, which tells the true story of a group of Acadians who were shipped to England, where they were interned in prison camps in ports such as Liverpool and Bristol. Within weeks of arrival, hundreds died from smallpox. Holledge’s talk will take place at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, at the Grand Falls, New Brunswick, E. & P. Senechal Centre ExpoMONDE.
“The Acadians were the victims of realpolitik,” says Holledge. “Britain wanted to drive the French out of North America — the Acadians were in their way. It was as simple and terrible as that.”
For more information about the World Acadian Congress, visit www.cma2014.com.