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On Tour Blog

April 20, 2013

Our Last Day
Posted by Yasuko Thanh

Yasuko Thanh

Our last day on tour was amazing.  I visited about eighty students at North Peace Secondary.  I spoke in the library, where I had a chance to wander the stacks before beginning my presentation.  I saw A Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins, 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley, a picture book on poetics with verse by e.e. cummings.  If the selection of reading material and the Grade Twelve art I saw on the walls are any indication, I’d say Fort St. John is a pretty cool place.  (Not to mention The Lido Theatre.)

To the owner of The Lido who took us on a tour, the kids at Chetwynd who told me what you do around here, the quiet kids and the girl at the front, the rowdy kids, the student from San Antonio, Texas, the teacher who spoke to me about Dressing Up for the Carnival, the boy with the bag of food who broke off pieces of mint Aero to share with his friends, the teacher who cried, the teacher who chose The Road for his class, the teacher who gave me the lanyard and the note, thank you all so much for inviting me into your communities.  A big thank you to Bryan Pike for being awesome and Caroline Adderson for being awesome, too. I’ll never forget you.

Enjoy some pictures below, taken over the last few days:


My side project: collecting motel signs.




This place was actually open for business.





This old Mercury outboard is in one of my favourite colours.


Hungry enough to kill.


Bologna, okay.  But where’s my Spam?


Waiting for our plane to Fort Nelson.  It’s early in the a.m. and Bryan and Caroline aren’t actually hungover—they just look that way.


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April 19, 2013

Day Four
Posted by Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson

A final visit to Alwin Holland Elementary School in Fort St. John!  Thank you to our intrepid driver/producer/handler/ entertainer Bryan Pike.  Thank you Yasuko Thanh for your wonderful company!  Thank you BC Book Prizes and all the sponsors! And a special thanks to all the schools and libraries of the Peace River District for hosting us!

Landing in Fort Nelson

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April 19, 2013

Day Three
Posted by Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson

Rustic accommodations on the BC Book Prize Tour.  Here’s Yasuko heading to the car.  (Kidding!)

FN joke
In the car for a beautiful drive to Hudson’s Hope.

driving to Hudson's hope

Stunning country!

in the Peace

On to Chetwynd.  I’ve never seen a woodpile this big…


Then on to Dawson Creek.

dawson creek grain vancouver

Here was are at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway.

Mile zero DC

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April 19, 2013

Day Two from the Peace River Leg
Posted by Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson

The airports in Northern BC have a very cool feature: free libraries!  Grab a book for your flight, leave a book.  Here’s Yasuko posing in front of the Dawson Creek Airport library.

Yasuko and airport

The flight up to Fort Nelson did not disappoint.

Caroline Adderson at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson

Breakfast at the 3-G

3G cafe

The session at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson.

Caroline Adderson at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson

And a little sightseeing before we head home!

trapper cabin

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April 19, 2013

Things I Received
Posted by Yasuko Thanh

Yasuko Thanh

Things I received yesterday:
A blue lanyard from Chetwynd Secondary School with my name handwritten on the envelope they gave it to me in.
A big hug at the Dawson Creek Municipal library reading, from Marilyn who worked at Oakalla Prison and Riverview Psychiatric Hospital, where two of my stories are set.
The knowledge that Hudson’s Hope Elementary-Secondary has a school rodeo, and Canada’s best cowboy lives in town.
The street parting for me when Caroline and I wanted to cross.  Four lanes on a brown street lined with black snow.  Eight cars stopping.  Drivers’ smiles.

Best pictures of the day:

Hudson’s Hope

Near Chetwynd

Dawson Creek

Tile Exterior, Bing’s Furniture, Dawson Creek

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April 19, 2013

Peace Country Tour Wraps Up
Posted by Bryan Pike

Bryan Pike

The Peace Country leg of our tour wraps up today, and what a fantastic time we have had! Yasuko, Caroline, and I have had a great time visiting schools and libraries in this region:

Caroline Adderson at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson
(Caroline at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson)

Yasuko with some students at Hudson's Hope Elementary-Secondary
(Yasuko with a few Hudson’s Hope Elementary-Secondary students)

Caroline signs books at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library
(Caroline signing books at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library)

Yasuko at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library
(Yasuko during her reading at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library)

Next week our Northern BC leg begins. I look forward to heading up to Terrace with Jackson Davies and Victoria Miles on Sunday!

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April 18, 2013

Packing for the Northern Leg
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

Bruno and the Beach: The Beachcombers at 40Just a few short days before the Northern BC tour begins, and I’m planning my packing carefully. Two pairs of shoes, or three? Never mind, a road trip is not about the footwear, it’s about the books you bring along to read on the ride. I have my little stack all set and ready—most being authored by fellow Book Prize nominees. Or course I’m bringing along my brand new copies of Marc Strange and Jackson Davies’ Bruno and the Beach: the Beachcombers at 40. You would, too, if you were an unabashed Beachcomber’s fan and about to spend six days in an SUV with Constable Constable.

Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a CopAfter that I’ll open Carol Shaben’s Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop. A few months ago, I tuned in to CBC Radio partway through an interview with Shaban. I had missed all the context, but there was so much wonder in the way she was speaking that I was immediately drawn in, without fully knowing what the subject was about. The book has been acclaimed for its author’s meticulous research and described as equal to, even going beyond, Jon Krakauer’s signature style. That she knew so well of whom she spoke, and still possessed such awe in describing them, is fascinating to me.

If I can get my hands on a copies of Caroline Adderson’s Middle of Nowhere; John Lekich’s The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls; Susin Nielsen’s The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen or Seraphina by Rachel Hartman those will be coming with me as well. But they asked us to pack light, which may mean foregoing a pair of shoes. Or two.

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April 17, 2013

A Gift in Fort Nelson
Posted by Yasuko Thanh

Yasuko Thanh

A Grade Twelve student – an emerging writer – leads me to her classroom with a manuscript in her hand.  The ideas for this book have been bouncing around her head since the sixth grade, she tells me.  “I don’t know where this piece is going to fit, yet,” she says when I ask her if she’s holding the beginning or an excerpt. 
I’ll be speaking to the English and Communication classes at Fort Nelson Secondary in a moment.  Caroline Adderson, Bryan Pike, and I flew into Fort Nelson this morning from Fort St. John.  I’m excited to be here, but nervous, too.  I wonder how the exercise I’ve chosen to do with the students will go over. 
I give each student a photograph.  In groups of four, they’ll draft a relationship between the character sketches they’ve written.  Yesterday at Dawson Creek Secondary we had magic toasters and cross country chases.  A family saga beginning with a boy’s birth and ending with an old man’s death.  A tractor, a shooting. 
Today we have a guy who wants nothing more than to be a basketball player, who injures his leg, fulfilling his worst fear.  We have a 27 year-old man who’s goal is to get his high school diploma, before his son in tenth grade gets his.
I usually doubt this exercise before I start.  I don’t know why because the results are always impressive. 
Too soon, we have to head back to the airport.  Before leaving the class, though, the emerging writer hands me her manuscript, her email address scrawled in purple pen at the top. Reading for our flight back to Fort St. John

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April 16, 2013

Looking For a Library
Posted by Yasuko Thanh

Yasuko Thanh

Three of us in a car trying to find the Fort St. John Public Library.  We have driven from Dawson Creek, a town an hour away.  It’s 4 pm—the afternoon light still bright this far north—and we’re running late.  The library expects us in fifteen minutes and though we’re fairly confident of where we are, we keep looking at the clock on the dash.  Fifteen minutes. 
Caroline Adderson sits in the back seat: she wears a neatly tailored red wool coat; I notice the way her eyes shine when she looks out the window at the brown landscape mottled with snow because she’s one of my literary heroes.  It’s the first time I’ve met her as well as our driver, Bryan, who looks like an I-Can-Do-Anything-Guy, and he probably can.  We left South Peace Secondary School just under an hour ago where I gave a talk and reading to Grade 10 and 11 students. 
“I think I’ll turn here,” Bryan says at 99th Street.  He says it as if he’s not sure, looking up and down the street before he turns. 
He steers the wheel to the right.  The car bumps over gravel potholes.  “Mmm, I think maybe it’s a hundredth.” Bryan has the gift of hindsight. He’s driven other writers on other tours in other years in Fort Nelson before.  “I think I turned on 100th Street last time.”
We drive not knowing exactly where we’re going.  Not exactly. 
We have a destination in mind.  But the precise road to take is not entirely clear. 
No map.  Just maybe someone’s sense of having been here before. 
And all the while, a clock marks time, reminding us that we don’t have forever. 
Reminds me of my writing process.

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April 16, 2013

Day One from the Peace River Leg
Posted by Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson

Breathtaking flight up north.

Flying to the Peace

Followed immediately by lunch in the Runway Cafe in the Dawson Creek airport.  Co-passengers confirmed it was THE place to eat in Dawson Creek.  Bryan Pike and Yasuko Thanh agree!

Bryan Pike

Suko Thanh

The tour is perfectly timed.  Much of the snow is gone and the legendary mosquitoes have yet to hatch.  I keep straining to think of the exactly colour of this landscape.

Peace River Valley

Oh, and we did visit a couple of schools to read!

Caroline Adderson at Crescent Park Elementary in Dawson Creek

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