Clearcut insanity

“I don’t know what we did to deserve this past winter,” says our Tahsis correspondent, “but I’m sorry we did it and I promise I’ll try not to do it again.” FULL STORY

Who’s Who

Sonny Assu

A is for Assu
First Nations contemporary artist, Sonny Assu was raised in North Delta over 250 km from his ancestral home on Vancouver Island. It wasn’t until he was 8 years old that he discovered his Kwakwaka’wakw heritage, which later became the conceptual focus of his art practice. He graduated from Emily Carr University in 2002 and began creating work that merged the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop-art sensibility. Sonny Assu: a Selective History (Heritage $34.95), with essays by Candice Hopkins, Marianne Nicolson, Richard Van Camp, and Ellyn Walker, highlights the playfullness and power in his art. He uses a variety of mediums including large scale installations, sculpture, photography, printmaking and painting. His work is in collections around the world, including: the National Gallery of Canada, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Audain Art Museum and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. IN 2016, Assu and his family moved “home” to the Kwakwaka’wakw’s unceded territory in Campbell River. 978-1-77203-170-6

Bartley clan in summer

B is for Bartley
The Bartley family has long maintained a summer home on one of the Gulf Islands. Now mother and daughter, Joan and Tracy Bartley, have taken time off from taking time off to write Greening Your Cottage or Vacation Property: Reduce Your Recreational Footprint (Self Counsel $14.95), a recreational guide to reducing your carbon footprint while reading murder mysteries, waiting for ferries, and the like. Joan Bartley is a potter; Tracy is an avid gardener, green blogger and backyard chicken keeper who visits with her family from Los Angeles whenever she can. 978-1-77040-290-4

Jennifer Craig

C is for Craig
In Jennifer Craig’s third book Gone to Pot (Second Storey $19.95) Jess, a feisty Nelson-based Grandmother, faces near calamity. On the same day, she loses her job and almost loses her house. As an older woman, Jess finds her employment options are limited. Drastic measures are called for and she turns to growing marijuana in her basement. The new people she meets and the reactions of her old friends are a revelation. Craig’s first published work, a semi-autobiographical novel about trainee nurses in Leeds during the 1950s, Yes Sister, No Sister: My Life as a Trainee Nurse in 1950s Yorkshire, was first published in the UK in 2002. It made the London Times bestseller list and has reputedly sold in excess of 100,000 copies. She lives in Nelson, British Columbia with a dog and a cat. 978-1-77260-034-6

Jason Dorland

D is for Dorland
A former Olympic rower, Jasonorland has penned his second book, Pulling Together:A Coach’s Journey to Uncover the Mindset of True Potential (Heritage $19.95) about his evolution from ultra-competitive athlete to supportive coach. It took a life-altering loss in the 1988 Olympics at Seoul, Korea to shake his earlier belief to be ‘in-it-to-win-it’ and to view every competitor as an enemy. When he became a rowing coach, he found that by creating an emotionally safe environment for his athletes, they felt free to fail yet ultimately achieved success way beyond their goals. Pulling Together reflects on Dorland’s new philosopy and its lessons for those on and off the sports field. His first book was Chariots and Horses (Heritage 2011), a reflective memoir examining his own thought processes during and after his participation in the 1988 Olympics and shares his journey of struggling with a mindset in which failure is devastating, to developing a healthier outlook on competitive sports. After his rowing career, Dorland coached the senior boys’ rowing crew at Shawnigan Lake, B.C. to four national championships. He also co-founded and directed an organic and natural food company called Skeet & Ike’s, and he often gives keynote presentations. 978-1-77203-173-7


Karen Enns

E is for Enns
In her third collection of poetry, Cloud Physics (University of Regina $19.95), Karen Enns focuses on endings – cultural, ecological, and personal. Endings may be viewed as tragic but throughout Enns peppers her lines with affirmations of love, music and language. The importance of being rooted in place and history is another favorite topic that she mines for inspiration. Enns is a former pianist and this collection is informed as much by music as her love of language. Her first book, That Other Beauty was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, and her second, Ordinary Hours was shortlisted for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. 978-0-88977-461-2

Alan Fossen

F is for Fossen
In his Freedom in East Vancouver, The Photography and Writing of Alan Fossen (Vancouver: Electromagnetic Print, $65), photographer Al Fossen has documented the eastside of Vancouver via “people, posters, protests and places” during the 1980s and 1990s. In 110 full-colour pages he highlights “alleys and graffiti” to reflect an era in which citizens dealt with counteracting 20th century racism, colonialism, fascism and “the modern capitalist state which fuels war and criminalizes the poor.” It is intended to reflect the resiliency of the human spirit. This book will be launched at Cafe Deux Soleils on March 19th.

Rhonda Ganz

G is for Ganz
In her debut collection, Frequent, Small Loads of Laundry (Mother Tongue 2017), Rhonda Ganz describes how people behave in moments of intimacy and domesticity, often pairing the banal with the absurd “to expose the flaws of love—the frayed edges of belief and despair.” Born in Kenya, Ganz lives in Victoria where she works as a graphic designer and editor. She speaks German and can hold a conversation in Swahili. Her poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, Rattle, Room, on city buses and in the anthologies Rocksalt, Poems from Planet Earth, Poet to Poet and Force Field: 77 Women Poets of BC. She has been known to write poems on the spot for people in hotel lobbies, parks and cemeteries. $19.95 9781896949604

H is for Hancox
Ralph Hancox’s third novel in two years, The Ape and the Peacock (Fictive Press $17.99), emanates from his social conscience. Set in the fictional Canadian province of Superior, his story spans a few days in November of 1957, following the paths of two miscreants and their differing fates. As the lives of several high-level government officials and a colourful cast of “destitutes” are forever altered, Hancox explores unequal consequences for the privileged and the dispossessed. After some 50 years in the publishing industry in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and Italy – – including 16 years as CEO, chairman and president of The Reader’s Digest Association (Canada) Ltd. – –  Hancox taught Topics in Publishing Management at SFU’s Master of Publishing program for almost ten years upon his retirement.1927663334


Thora Iling

I is for Illing
Former journalist and librarian, Thora Illing wrote a biography of Nellie Cashman (1845 – 1925), nicknamed ‘The Miner’s Angel’, Gold Rush Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Nellie Cashman (TouchWood $18.95). The unorthodox and rugged Cashman was a miner, entrepreneur and philanthropist who lived and worked in some of the toughest boomtowns in the West. She was up and down the coast, from California to Northern B.C., and north and south in the interior from Arizona to Alaska. In addition to staking claims, she set up restaurants, boarding houses and general stores. But she didn’t keep much of the money herself, instead giving away much of it to build hospitals and churches or help fellow miners down on their luck. One of her famous feats was to hike into northern B.C.’s Dease Lake under frigid winter conditions to get to the Cassiar mining area where miners were trapped without sufficient food and dying of scurvy. It took Nellie and six men she hired 77 days to get to the mining site, each on snowshoes pulling a laden sled because the snow was too soft and deep for dogs. They were just in time to save most of the miners. This story passed into legend and Nellie was frequently referred to thereafter as the ‘Angel of the Cassiar.’ Cashman remained tough into her later years and at the age of 77, she earned the title of champion musher of the North. She died in the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Victoria from double pneumonia. The Victoria Daily Times wrote of Cashman, “Like many pioneer women who have known the meaning of hardship, she was of a most kindly disposition, nursing the sick and feeding the hungry and doing all she could to help the unfortunate and her death will be sincerely mourned by a wide circle.” Thora Illing immigrated to Canada as a young woman, fell in love with the space, fjords and forests of the West and stayed. She retired to Sidney. 978-1-77151-159-9

Julie Paul

J is for Julie
Also a massage therapist and teacher, Ottawa Valley-raised Julie Paul, from Lanark, moved to Victoria and published her first collection of fiction, The Jealousy Bone, in 2008. Now her first poetry collection, The Rules of the Kingdom (McGill-Queens $16.95), has appeared as part of the Hugh MacLennan Poetry Series. Paul recently gained the spotlight when her second collection of twelve unsettling stories, The Pull of the Moon (Brindle & Glass 2014), received the twelfth, $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Prize, presented by City of Victoria acting mayor Chris Coleman and sponsor Brian Butler. The title was selected as a Top 100 Book of the Year by the Globe & Mail. Paul’s stories, poems and essays have been accepted for publication in numerous journals, including The Danforth Review, Little Fiction, The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review, Event, The Fiddlehead, The Dalhousie Review, PRISM International, Qwerty, Geist, Vallum, existere, The Rusty Toque, Boulevard, Canadian Living, and in the anthologies Coming Attractions 07 and Women Behaving Badly. 9780773548992

K is for Knox
Alligators and tigers can be white. Lobsters can be blue. One in twelve people have a rare disease. So what should we do? To raise awareness of rare diseases, “the underdogs of health care,” Deborah Katz, an artist and nursing professor with twenty years of experience in health care, has produced Rare is Everywhere (Miss Bird / Sandhill $19.95) in an attempt to educate children about nature and make them feel better if they have a rare disease or any anomaly that makes them feel different. The overriding message about her assortment of strange animals comes at the end: “So if you ever feel different, like a white spirit bear, you don’t have to worry because, Rare is EVERYWHERE!” Proceeds go to the Rare Disease Foundation, started in Vancouver in 2007. A rare disease is defined as a condition affecting fewer than one in 2,000 people. There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases. 978-0-9958261-0-6

Colin D. Levings

L is for Levings
Colin D. Levings’ encyclopedic treatment of how sea-going salmon, trout and char make their transition from fresh to salt water (and the other way) at the river mouth, Ecology of Salmonids in Estuaries Around the World: Adaptations, Habitats and Conservation (UBC Press $75) provides case histories dealing with BC estuaries and species while incorporating conservation issues. There is also an on-line appendix that provides a primer on salmonids and estuaries for the citizen scientist. Also the author of about 200 scientific papers, he increasingly spends time at Pender Harbour, teaching his five grandsons to fish. 978-0-7748-3173-4

Helen May

M is for May
With illustrations by Marc Luc Poelvoorde, Helen May’s self-published novel Mother Tongue (Friesen Press 2016) is about a Scottish girl, Madelaine, who was born in South Africa near the outset of World War II and the apartheid era. “Raised by the Zulu people who work in her family’s household and on the farm, Madelaine speaks Zulu and learns from them valuable messages about kindness and survival. When she attends the village school, she is punished for her friendship with the Zulu, thus beginning a lifelong, soul-searching journey towards practicing kindness and forgiveness in a world torn by prejudice.” Madelaine eventually drives from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver where her marriage disintegrates and she recognizes Canada’s racism and colonization in terms of its indigenous people. Her own ‘duty to humanity’ comes to the fore during a series of epiphanies fueled by compassion. 978-1-4602-8342-4 / unpriced. A resident of Vancouver, Helen May has worked as a life story coach, an oral storyteller and an Early Childhood Educator. Her educational books are The Possibilities of Music and Stories (1975) and It Works (1987).

Emily Nilsen

N is for Nilsen
We get our balance from our ears. An otolith is a series of bones in the ear that enable us to be oriented within the context of physical space, our environs. In her debut book of poems, Otolith (Goose Lane $19.95), Emily Nilsen of Nelson examines the ache of nostalgia in the world’s passage of time. Publicity states: “These poems are full of life and decay; they carry the odours of salmon rivers and forests of fir; salal growing in the fog-bound mountain slopes.” Born and raised in Vancouver, Nilsen lives in Nelson. Her poems have appeared in PRISM International, Lake, and The Goose. She was a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2015, after having been longlisted for the prize on three occasions, and her work has been longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize. 978-0-864929-62-4

O is for Oucharek-Deo
Born in North Vancouver, Michelle Oucharek-Deo of Port Coquitlam is a Registered Art Therapist who has written a debut novel, The Girl in the Peach Tree (Live and Grow Press $12.99), about a young woman who grew up in the shadow of her mother’s mental illness. This story of self-awakening and romance follows 25-year-old Maya Wells as she overcomes her upbringing and her constrained emotions. Partially set in Peachland, B.C., we meet a protagonist who has an epiphany on the night before her wedding in the form of a panic attack that enables her to realize she does not love the man she intends to marry. After the wedding is cancelled, she becomes one of eight contest winners for a month-long stay at a vineyard retreat in Portugal–whereupon she meets Cristiano in an airport waiting room. “With a spilt cup of tea and a spark when they touched, a deep connection emerged between two wounded hearts.” The cover art was designed and painted by Wally Oucharek of Melville, Saskatchewan. 978-1-988348-00-1

Nicola Peffers

P is for Peffers
Nicola Peffers has emerged as the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Canadian Armed Forces by a collection of sexual trauma survivors. Peffers had left the Canadian navy five years earlier after five years of service at the rank of Ordinary Seaman. In her memoir, Refuge in the Black Deck (Caitlin $24.95), she describes feeling isolated and threatened aboard the HCMS Winnipeg, often taking refuge by hiding in the black deck, a dark and cramped area of the ship that nobody else wanted to visit. At age 26, having graduated near the top of her training class, she had optimistically boarded the ship in 2009, only to soon discover she would be mistreated by superiors and sexually harassed. After years of struggling with Post Traumatic Stress, Nicola Peffers was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put in a permanent medical category by the Navy. The categorization meant that she could not be promoted or receive any more training, resulting in the end of her naval career. She was honourably discharged in 2012. 978-1-987915-43-3 $24.95

Q is for Quartermain
Set in Vancouver, in 1972, U Girl (Talon $19.95) is a coming of age story about Frances Nelson as she arrives in big city for her first year of university, escaping her small-town life. Sexual experimentation, drugs, working at menial jobs, meditating on Wreck Beach and studying at the University of British Columbia during the “free love” era are all incorporated in her struggle to be taken seriously as a woman with a desire for gender equality. 978-1-77201-040-4

Fauzia Rafique. Photo by Nasreen Pejvack.

R is for Rafique
South Asian Canadian writer Fauzia Rafique–originally from Pakistan–writes fiction and poetry in English, Punjabi and Urdu. Endorsed by literary friends Susan Crean and Heidi Greco, her second novel, The Adventures of SahebaN: Biography of a Relentless Warrior (Libros Libertad $20), interprets and responds to various kinds of oppression that she has witnessed in Pakistan and Canada, in accordance with Simone de Beauvoir’s statement in The Second Sex: “All oppression creates a state of war. “The heroine of the story, Saheban, rebels against her family in overtly sexist Pakistan by refusing an arranged marriage. Embarking on a new life in Canada, Saheban encounters oppression in the guise of racism and economic disparity. Rafique’s first novel was Skeena (Libros Libertad 2011) and a chapbook appeared the same year for her English and Punjabi poems, Passion Fruit/Tahnget Phal (Uddari Books 2011). She is a co-founder and the coordinator of Surrey Muse, an interdisciplinary art and literature presentation group that began to meet on a monthly basis in Surrey in 2011. [The spelling of SahebaN is correct.] 978-1-926763-44-6

Jeanne Sedun

S is for Sedun
Jeanne M. Sedun’s Someone I Love is Dying (Heart in Hand $18.95) provides practical advice as to what to think about and work through before and after the death of a loved one. Born in Toronto, Sedun has degrees in arts and education from the University of Winnipeg, and a Master of Divinity Degree from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary. As a Protestant minister, she creates a roadmap for supporting a loved one facing a terminal illness with both compassion and practical planning. 978-0-9958178-0-7

Geo Takach

T is Takach
Coincidental with the resurgence of the Keystone XL pipeline project, Geo Takach, Ph.D, a writer, filmmaker, workshop leader, and, as Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University in Victoria, has published Tar Wars: Oil, Environment and Alberta’s Image (University of Alberta Press $34.95), an assessment and documentation of how “image-makers” manage the tensions and conflict between the continuous growth mandated by a globalized economic system and its unsustainable environmental costs. 978-1-77212-140-7

U is for Uncharted
Jim McDowell’s book from Ronsdale Press about the first European to reach the area that has become greater Vancouver, Uncharted Waters: The Explorations of José Narváez (1768-1840), received a Silver Medal for Western Canadian history at the Independent Publisher Book Awards that honour the year’s best independently published titles from around the world. Another Ronsdale title, Live Souls: Citizens and Volunteers of Civil War Spain by Serge Alternes and Alec Wainman received a Bronze Medal for European regional history. The IPPY Independent Publisher awards were presented in Chicago before Book Expo America.

V is for Vadym
After writing three books on stock market trading strategies, Vadym Graifer of Victoria decided to alter his diet and lose weight when he was diagnosed with diabetes at age 52. In The Time Machine Diet (RTS 2016) he describes his methodologies to reverse diabetes reversal with better food instead of medications in keeping with his TimeTravelDiet website.  Born in Ukraine in 1961, Vadym Graifer graduated as a construction engineer and rose to a head of a private design and construction company during hi8s country’s transformation after the USSR collapse. He immigrated to Canada in 1996 and lived for ten years in Manitoba before moving to B.C. In Winnipeg, Graifer turned to stock market trading and founded educational company RealityTrader, teaching private investors to manage their portfolio. He has been invited to numerous seminars across North America and the Caribbean as a featured speaker. Upon moving to Victoria, Graifer resumed his life-long hobby, taking photography on a semi-professional basis. His photos have been used by various tourism campaigns. 978-0973779677

Mark Warrior in his logger days.

W is for Warrior
“When one reads other accounts of the history of British Columbia since the Second World War,” says Mark Warrior, “the role of unions generally receives short shrift.” So he’s done something about it. Warrior’s history of the Labourers’ International Union of North America in British Columbia since its first local was chartered in 1937 is Building the Power: The Labourers’ Union in British Columbia (LiUNA! Local 1611). Born (1952) and educated in England, Mark Warrior of Ladysmith has published in several anthologies, both in Canada and abroad. He wrote a chapbook entitled Quitting Time (Vancouver: MacLeod Books 1978) published by antiquarian bookseller Don Stewart. He worked for ten years in the forest industry during which he was an IWA job steward, a logging Camp Chairman and a member of IWA Haney Local 1-367’s Executive Board. This was followed by twenty years as a commercial fisherman as a member of the United Fishermen & Allied Worker’s Union, during which he was Secretary-Treasurer its 1,000-member Vancouver Fishermen’s Local 1 and Fishermen’s Strike Captain during UFAWU’s 1989 industry-wide “Free Trade” strike. Building the Power can be downloaded without charge at:

X is for Xinjiang
As a sessional lecturer at UBC, Kim Trainor has released Karyotype (Brick $20), a poetry collection about a woman who lived four thousand years ago. Dubbed Loulan, her body has been preserved in the sands of the Taklamakan Desert—the largest desert in China, in the southwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The word karyotype, we are told, is “the characteristic chromosome complement of a species.” Trainor worked in a biomedical library and for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Previously her poetry won the Ralph Gustafson Prize from The Fiddlehead and the Long Poem Prize from The Malahat Review. 978-1-77131-379-7


Clea Young

Y is for Young
Having had three stories included in Journey Prize collections, Clea Young, another graduate of the UBC Creative Writing department, already had an agent prior to the publication of her first collection stories, Teardown (Freehand $19.95), described as an arresting collection about people “arguing about lamps in IKEA, drinking gin and tonics on a dock in summer, unemployed and without prospects.” Young is currently an Artistic Associate at the Vancouver Writers Festival–prospects unknown. We choose believe Billie Livingston when she writes, “Teardown captures a multitude of lives on the cusp of critical change. Young’s prose is nimble, her dialogue smart. This is a remarkable debut.” 978-988298-01-6

By Sarah Race,

Zena Sharman

Z is for Zena
Editor Zena Sharman’s “moving and incendiary” LGBTQ anthology, The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care (Arsenal $18.95), presents true stories from queer and trans people about their health-care experiences and challenges. From gay men with HIV recalling systemic resistance and to a lesbian couple dealing with the experience of cancer, the stories and essays from health-care providers and activists explore and examine the challenges and politics of LGBTQ health issues in the shadow of the new post-truth Trump era. Contributors include Amber Dawn, Sinclair Sexsmith, Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco, Cooper Lee Bombardier, Kara Sievewright and Vivek Shraya. Zena Sharman co-chairs the board of the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre, a holistic health care centre for transgender and gender-diverse communities, located on Kingsway in Vancouver. With a Ph.D in interdisciplinary studies from UBC, previously Zena Sharman has co-edited the Lambda Literary award-nominated anthology, Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011), and she has been a cabaret host, a go-go dancer for a queer punk band and a campus radio DJ. 9781551526584 [photo by Sarah Race]

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