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On Tour

April 25, 2009

Prince Rupert Readings and Farewells
Posted by Elise Partridge

Elise Partridge

I’d wanted to post this nearly a week ago, but was stymied first by waiting for information and then by computer difficulties.  Tonight (April 25), I’m looking forward to meeting many other people in the BC literary community and seeing my tour-mates again.

On Saturday, April 18, the northern tour traveled to Prince Rupert from Terrace, narrow waterfalls plunging down the sheer rock-face to our right and mountains looming over the water to our left.  Bryan started us rolling to Glenn Gould and moved on once again to such gems as “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors” (just one good line: “spilled some dressing/on Doris Lessing”).  Fortunately, we spilled no dressing – everything was too delicious – at lunch at the Cow Bay Café on the Prince Rupert waterfront.  It was a privilege to give our readings at the Museum of the North there, in a room full of First Nations artifacts, with floor-to-ceiling windows through which we could glimpse eagles circling.  One of the highlights of this whole trip, for me, was watching Katarina read her story, The King Has Goat Ears, to an eager audience of both children and adults.  One young girl was so excited she stood up nearly the whole time, trying to peer at the pages while Katarina imitated the voices of King Boyan and his apprentice barber, Igor. 

Afterwards, we had a chance to chat with audience members and the museum director and designer, then tour the exhibits.  This museum, the director told me, has been identified as one of the best in BC, along with UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and the Royal British Columbian Museum in Victoria.  If anyone is anywhere near Prince Rupert, I hope they’ll visit.

At our final convivial dinner in Terrace that night we were joined by a local author, Brenda Silsbe.  I thought how lucky I had been to tour with a group of writers I liked so much and whose work I admired too – at various times on the road, we were all studying each other’s books in the van, discussing characters in Robin’s, the theme and humor in Katarina’s, learning more about the cast and setting in Margaret’s.  We were so lucky as well to have such a collected yet mellow chaperone in Bryan, who attended to every responsibility so cheerfully.  Thank you again to my fellow authors; to our valiant guide; to the teachers and librarians I met at the secondary schools where Margaret and I read (including Geoff Parr, Al Lehmann, Robin MacLeod, Andrew Williams, Dave Durrant, Jack Law, Teresa Monkman, and Valerie Kilbey); to several writers who introduced themselves to me along the way (Howard Smith, a Haisla poet from Kitimaat, and Gillian Wigmore, Barbara Coupé, and Darcy Ingraham, poets from Prince George); to the students (among them, Adrien Hills in Smithers); to bookstore owners and staff (we all enjoyed meeting Linda and Ken Pitzel at Book Masters in Kitimat); and to all the readers who welcomed us so generously.   


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