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BC Book Prizes On Tour

April 14, 2011

Northern Tour drawing to a close

A terrific week on the northern tour with Gina, Stephan and our intrepid driver and guide Bryan. The elementary schools were gracious and generous and special kudos to Uplands in Terrrace and Roy Wilcox in Kitimat. The Kitimat Public Library supplied us with a large and very receptive staff and audience. A wonderful ending to our tour.

This was an unforgettable experience for a guy that would never have predicted that there would be a published book based on my fishing career. Life includes many wonderful shifts and changes and it seems that saying “yes” is very much part of the equation. So many many thanks to Bryan and Rebus Creative for this opportunity to spend a week with some wonderful people.

Posted by Gary Kent | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 3 Comments | Permalink

April 14, 2011

So long, and thanks for the fish

I’d just like to echo Gina’s enthusiasm for our day in Kitimat.

Thanks to Sam Robinson (64 years carving—what an example of dedication to one’s art), to Dave Durrant, English teacher at Mount Elizabeth (we went to elementary school together in Victoria), to Al Fleishman at Caledonia (in Terrace—I taught his son Al at SFU), to everyone at the Kitimat Public Library, the Haisla Nation, and all the kids in the high schools.

This has been a great week.

Last of all, thanks to Bryan Pike for making it all possible—driver, handler, roadie, raconteur and bon vivant. I’m going to go home and sleep now. So long.

Posted by Stephen Collis | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 1 Comments | Permalink

April 13, 2011

A New All Time High

I couldn’t wait until the morning to write this…it has been the best day ever! Everything was just perfect—thanks Bryan.

At our first school, Uplands Elementary in Terrace, the staff were so appreciative and the kids attentive and respectful. I could tell when we walked through the front door that things were going to go well when two students graciously introduced themselves and led us to our presentation rooms.

After a wonderful morning we drove down to Kitimat, a town with the most amazing views of forests and inlet. We presented to another very appreciative group of teachers and students at Roy Wilcox Elementary. I even got a hug from the librarian, Lucy, on my way out. On top of that, the school presented Gary and me with lovely travel mugs with First Nations motifs.

But that wasn’t all. We then had time to check out the town. Over at Kitimaat Village I had no idea we were going to meet Sam Robinson, a highly respected and accomplished artist and Chief of Chiefs. He generously took time out of his work to invite us into his workroom where we saw some silver and gold jewelery he’s in the midst of creating. As beautiful as they were, it was the amazing wood carvings that blew me away. The pieces on his wall were mostly yellow cedar and these dramatic images were inlaid with colourful shell (might have been mother of pearl, mussels or some other kind of shell)—whatever it was, it was beautiful set into the eyes and mouths of the stunning creatures.

We finished the day at the Kitimat Library. We were so warmly welcomed by the staff, who provided an amazing spread of goodies for us and the attendees. It was also a great turn out from members of the public. There was even one young girl who had sat through my presentation at the school earlier, who came to listen again and buy my book. Thank you Terrace and Kitimat for a completely enjoyable and memorable final day of our tour of the North.

Posted by Gina McMurchy-Barber | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 1 Comments | Permalink

April 13, 2011

Our Last Kick at the Can

We drive by night and present by day…such is the life of the author. Okay, maybe a little dramatic, but we have been very busy.

For all the work this tour has been it was made completely delightful by the three gentlemen I’ve been traveling with. They’re all great story tellers, passionate about music, very considerate (me being the only female on the trip) and they all have great humour and we’re laughing almost all the time.

We’re here in Terrace and it’s our last day for presentations. We have schools here to do this morning and then down to Kitimat for afternoon school presentations and the library. This is my first efforts and being a blogger and I don’t know if I’m hooked on it, but I’m glad I’ve now tried it and know how! Here’s to one last good day.

Posted by Gina McMurchy-Barber | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 1 Comments | Permalink

April 12, 2011

The Kids are Alright

Yesterday was the marathon: readings at schools in Prince George in the morning, then in Quesnel in the afternoon, followed by the Quesnel Library in the evening. I think we held up pretty good—certainly Gina and Gary had their audience enthralled at the library—THEY don’t seem to be tiring!

I’m enjoying the schools most of all. The kids have been amazing, listening to all the noise and chaos I’m offering, the cranky poems about the death-grip we have on this planet, and asking great questions. Two at least have identified themselves as poets (they wore fedoras, like me—was there a memo? Is this the uniform now?), and I read one of their poems—Nick, at Quesnel Secondary—aloud to the class. It cooked. I hope they stay in touch.

Posted by Stephen Collis | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 10, 2011

Having a great time

It’s the end of day four of our tour and even the rain hasn’t put a damper on this wonderful experience. It’s so beautiful up here in the north and we’ve met so many people who are both warm and enthusiastic.

Some of the highlights for me so far include our presentation at the museum in Prince Rupert Friday evening, stopping at ‘Ksan village on Saturday, and getting a great turn out of teachers and students at the Books & Company reading last night.

The museum is styled like a longhouse and the first thing I noticed upon entering was the scent of cedar. It was serene and beautiful inside. But the best part was the room where we held our reading. It overlooked the bay and had an unusual three piece totem. As for ‘Ksan, I’ve wanted to visit this place ever since I first read about it nearly twenty years ago. Unfortunately it was closed, but we were still able to walk around the outside and admire all the buildings and totems.

Today was a nice slow day here in Prince George and I even got to sleep in…or rather I thought I was sleeping in. After what felt like a really long and self-indulgent sleep I got up to discover it was only 8:00 a.m. Tomorrow we’ve got two schools and an evening presentation in Quesnel.

Posted by Gina McMurchy-Barber | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 1 Comments | Permalink

April 10, 2011

Exquisite Flogging

As Schroeder would say, “you are about to be flogged through the fleet” when I informed him that I was about to head north.

Three days later I haven’t been flogged yet but after a 6 hour drive from Terrace a mix of exhaustion and anxiety set in before our presentation at Books and Company. However as always the anxiety was a poignant signal that all would be well and that Stephen, Gina and I would sparkle away in front of about 30 folks of all ages who were there to accept anything we gave them.

Stephan was a touch worried that his ‘weird’ poetry might send the children into an altered state and Gina was a wee bit concerned that Ruby’s plight at Woodlands Elementary might be excessively heartrending. I was in a perfect spot to watch the children and they and everyone else were totally immersed in the proceedings. Ruby’s story (I have only heard part of the first chapter or so) is evocative on many levels and Gina’s reading is terrific. I can’t get enough of Stephan’s poetry and superb reading.

There is a groupie or two wherever we go and yes Gub and Puss have a nice little following as well. When I asked whether I should have left Gubby’s pants off during the basking shark incident one little risk averse fellow said a resounding ‘no’. I suspect that he is a spy for the BC Ferries nudity patrol.

Posted by Gary Kent | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 10, 2011

Eagle Returns

Arrived in Prince George full of sound and fury (but really just getting tired now).

What sticks in my mind at this point is something that happened in Prince Rupert. I read a poem called “The End of Flight,” which tells the (true!) story of a strange incident: while building a playhouse in my back yard (with fellow poet Jordan Scott), an eagle fell from the sky and landed dead at our feet (omen, anyone?). In Rupert, at the Museum of the North, I was reading this poem with my back to large windows overlooking the harbour. I’m told that as I did so, an eagle flew into view behind me, circled, and then, catching a thermal, spiralled up out of sight. So I guess that eagle is back. Thanks Prince Rupert.

I’m blogging for the first time on this trip. Not sure about this! My wife, however, is the real blogger: check her out (shameless plug, I know, but how else to make up for being away for a week!).

Posted by Stephen Collis | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 10, 2011

If it’s Saturday We Must Be In Prince George

We had an excellent reading at Books and Company last night here in Prince George. There was a big group out to see the authors including lots of kids. The book store sold out of books and I had to give them some of the books we had with us to keep up the demand. We have a day off today and will start again tomorrow visiting school here in Prince George before heading off to Quesnel in the afternoon.

Posted by Bryan Pike | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 1 Comments | Permalink

April 08, 2011

Too Much Hot Chocolate

I’m having a wonderful time here in Prince Rupert….even if it’s cold, raining and I’m on my third mug of hot chocolate. I’ve just come from a presentation at a great school called Lax Kxeen and the 100 or so students were a wonderful audience. One boy even said I was “cool”. You gotta feel good with that kind of compliment. 

Tonight we’re doing a reading at the museum here. It’s a beautiful building and looks like a traditional First Nations longhouse. The two authors I’m with, Gary Kent and Stephen Collis are great travelling partners. I’m learning lots about fishing from Gary (he wrote a picture book called Fishing with Gubby) and getting really ticked off about the tar sands, oil companies and our over consuming society from Stephen (his book of poetry is called On the Material).

Posted by Gina McMurchy-Barber | Filed under: Northern Leg 2011 | 2 Comments | Permalink

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