The three authors the Courtenay and District Museum will host this fall have a few things in common.
Paula Wild, Richard Mackie and Tom Peek are all award-winners, intrigued with the natural and cultural historic world around them and willing to share their knowledge with a wider audience.
This exciting lineup of lectures and launches will wind up with a half-day writing workshop Oct. 19 with U.S. Independent Book Publishers Awards novelist Tom Peek.
• Mackie will kick off the first event in the programs this Wednesday at 7 p.m. with an illustrated lecture Logging the Flats: The Steam Era 1910-1945 based on his latest book about the forestry industry of the Comox Valley and the people involved.
Mackie’s talk will follow the Comox Logging & Railway Company as it logged 60,000 acres of Douglas fir forest to the north of Courtenay and around Comox Lake in an era of high-lead logging.
Before trucks and chainsaws, Comox Logging’s workforce of 400 men used crosscut saws, donkeys, skidders, railways, cherry pickers, and steam locomotives to log “the flats” north of Courtenay.
• Later in the same week, this Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m.), Wild will launch her profusely illustrated new book The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous, followed by refreshments and a book-signing session.
In her book, the Comox Valley author describes the cougar’s biology, behaviour and lifestyle, as well as their frequent visits to urban settings. The publication examines the lives of captive cougars and presents information on the important role large carnivores play in the delicate balance of our ecosystem.
The Cougar blends elements of natural history, scientific research, First Nations stories, and first person accounts in its pages. With her in-depth research, Wild explores the relationship between mountain lions and humans, and provides information on cougar awareness and defence tactics for people living, working or travelling in cougar country.
• To complete this trio of presentations, Peek, who has just won a silver medal in the United States Independent Book Publishers Awards for his latest novel, Daughters of Fire, will present a lecture and workshop.
The U.S. author’s visit to the Comox Valley will be his only Canadian stop on a North American tour to highlight his latest award-winner, the murder-mystery Daughters of Fire. It explores how tourism and property development in Hawaii, where he lives, sparks a Hawaiian movement to reclaim their culture and protect sacred land.
In the novel, a visiting astronomer falls in love with a Hawaiian anthropologist who guides him in to a Polynesian world of volcanoes, gods and revered ancestors. The lovers are caught up in death and intrigue as developers and politicians try to conceal that a long-dormant volcano is apparently rumbling back to life overlooking a hotel-laden coastline.
The first of the museum events will be an illustrated talk by Peek, titled Inspired by the Island of Fire Living, Working and Writing on Hawaii’s Volcanic Big Island. Peek will discuss the natural wonders and rich cultural traditions of the volcanic isle.
This lecture will be not only about his book, but also about his work as an interpretive guide and writer at the Mauna Kea and Kilaeau volcanoes on Hawaii island that helped inspire the novel. The lecture will be held at the museum on the evening of Oct. 18 at 7.
The following day, Peek will lead a half-day writing workshop from 9 a.m. to 12:30 at the museum, offering advice on story construction and giving friendly critique on writing samples from participants.
Peek is well- known among both fellow residents and visitors in Hawaii for his Empowered by the Pen writing workshops, which have been running there for more than 20 years in partnership with the University of Hawaii and other venues.
For more information, visit the museum’s webpage at www.courtenaymuseum.com.
— Courtenay and District Museum