The BC Book Prize nominees were on tour last week as Charlotte Gill and Pamela Porter were showing off their beautiful home grown stories of tree planting and small town World War II era Saskatchewan.
“It’s been fantastic,” said Porter.
“Brian’s got the car and we just ride along. He makes sure we get where we’re supposed to be so all we really have to do is concentrate on speaking to our audiences. He treats us like royalty.”
The tour kicked off in Terrace last Wednesday and traveled through Prince Rupert, Burns Lake, Prince George, Fort St. James, Quesnel, Smithers and Kitimat.
Porter’s story, I’ll Be Watching, revolves around a small town in World War II era Saskatchewan when, after being abandoned by his step-parents, a young man travels to the front lines of war torn Europe and finds his own adventures while his siblings struggle on the home front.
When reading the book to a few older folks who remember those days, they mentioned to Porter that her story felt like they were reliving their own lives over again.
A statement which speaks volumes to Porters nomination and the hope of winning the prize.
“I think to be on the short list is a lot of fun,” said Porter. “Whether it wins or not, getting some exposure and the end result hopefully someone will pick up the book and read it and maybe pass that book on.”
Charlotte Gill’s Eating Dirt is no stranger to Smithers. In the fall she toured the northwest promoting the release of the book and now finds herself nominated for another prize for a story set right here in the heart of tree planter country.
“Coming through this part of the world is always a really amazing experience for me because I spent so many years planting here, it’s like a trip down memory lane,” said Gill.
“All the towns I’ve been in this time of year, all the planters are going to work; so I’ve seen dozens of them already. I saw a group of planters all huddled outside the Greyhound Bus station—they looked like all rookies and I thought, ‘I remember what it was like to be 19 years old and heading out to the bush.”
Eating Dirt was based on a decade of tree planting experience and the bonds formed through a group few know much about.
Tree planting in B.C. is part of the heritage and culture of this province and that fact it’s been nominated for the BC Book Prize makes the tour that much sweeter.
“You never know what’s going to happen, but it always feels really special when someone really likes your book and they want to nominate you for a prize,” Gill said.
“I feel a real sense of excitement over this prize in particular because the book is set in B.C. and it’s all about B.C. and I really felt as if it was a local story and a regional story one that is under told in a way so I’m really pleased.”
The winner of the BC Book Prize will be