Special to the Record
A book produced by the Comox Valley Writers’ Society was literally 150 years in the making.
Inspired by Courtenay’s centennial, Writers & Books was intended to list 100 authors associated with the Comox Valley during the past century. The finished 222-page softcover product includes 180 authors in a century and a half.
A dozen people, led by editors Terry James and Christine Dickinson, tackled the daunting project. It was made manageable by restricting the listing to writers who had books published.
It’s an easy and enjoyable read with a consistent format that alphabetically lists authors and their books, adding informative biographies of the writers.
Cross-indexing by subject matter adds a layer of interest, and will assist researchers for decades to come.
Fiction genres, including science fiction/fantasy and children’s literature, are greatly outnumbered by non-fiction. Those topics run the gamut from archeology to history to biography/memoir to spirituality to sexuality.
The eclectic 180 writers range from experienced authors hoping to reach a wide audience to amateurs writing for themselves, family or friends.
Celebrities who include Kim Cattrall, Pamela Anderson and Red Robinson rub shoulders with Alice Munro, Jack Hodgins, Emily St. John Mandel, Des Kennedy, Paula Wild and other acclaimed authors.
Local notables include former fighter pilots Stocky Edwards and Duke Warren; politicians George Piercy and Gwyn Sproule; conservationists Charles Brandt, Mack Laing and Ralph Shaw, as well as no fewer than 30 people under the poetry category.
Wedlidi Speck, Rob and Andy Everson, and George Littlechild represent the area’s native population.
Although the writers’ society made an earnest effort to include every qualifying writer, three declined to participate and others did not learn about the project in time to be included.
However, the “reasonably comprehensive record,” as editor James phrases it, stands as an enjoyable, informative read as well as a valuable research aide.
Writers & Authors is available at the Laughing Oyster, Blue Heron and the Courtenay Museum.