The remarkable characters who settled Vancouver Island's Clayoquot Sound tell the story found in Margaret Horsfield's latest book, Voices from the Sound: Chronicles of Clayoquot Sound and Tofino 1899 to 1929.
Horsfield will introduce these voices at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt.
Horsfield's 1999 book, Cougar Annie's Garden, also explored the geography and eccentric settlers of western Vancouver Island. Voices from the Sound emanates from an extensive archive of long-forgotten letters, diaries and scraps of memoir from the storekeepers, sealers, prospectors, priests, schoolchildren, settlers and First Nations people whose lives intersected in the small world and vast distances of the Island's west coast.
The years 1899 to 1929 saw rapid social and economic change in the Clayoquot area, with the demise of the fur seal trade, the coming of scheduled steamships and the development of commercial whaling, logging and fishing. Missionaries altered the lives of First Nations people, while the rise of Tofino eclipsed nearby Clayoquot as the dominant community in the area. Horsfield says her book is a portrait of " not movers and shakers, not decision makers or policy shapers " but of those "simply living on the coast and trying to make a go of it in a rapidly changing environment."
Horsfield's previous books include a history of housework called Biting the Dust, and co-written with Peter Horsfield, Beyond Golgotha and Beyond Bethlehem. Cougar Annie's Garden won the Roderick Haig-Brown Prize for best book about B.C. Horsfield lives in Mill Bay on Vancouver Island.
Admission to Horsfield's reading is free under the sponsorship of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council's literary committee. Refreshments will be available.