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REPORTING · 24th April 2014
Walter McFarlane
There were two authors at the Kitimat Public Library on Sunday, April 13th as a part of the BC Book Prizes tour. Both are up for BC Book Prizes award. Ashley Little and Jesse Donaldson came to read from their works, and entertain a small crowd of Kitimat residents. This is the 10th year the BC Book Prizes tour has come to Kitimat.

Little has two books which are up for prizes. The one she was reading from is called: ‘The New Normal’ and it is up for the Heila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize.

“It’s a young adult novel about a 16 year old girl, growing up in Calgary and she’s losing her hair,” said Little. “She has a rare condition called alopecia. It’s an auto immune disorder which sometimes comes on with stress and it comes on to her after the death of her twin sisters. She’s dealing with this grief, her parents grief, navigating her way through high school and losing her hair.”

This story was based on a short story which won a competition in the Okanogan in 2008. The judges felt this story sounded like the first chapter to a novel so she finished it.

Little got her Bachelor of Creative arts at the University of Victoria and is doing a masters in creative writing in the University of the Okanogan. She advised aspiring authors to practice, be persistent and patient.

She told us the recognition is good after all of the hard work. Her other novel up for award is ‘Anatomy of a Girl Gang’ for the Ethel Wilson Book Prize.

Donaldson is up for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award for his book, ‘This Day in Vancouver.’ Donaldson is a journalist who has written for the Tyee Magazine and several other magazines.

“It’s a little history book essentially, it’s like a day at a time in the city of Vancouver primarily but it’s also the history of the lower mainland of BC by extension. It’s not just Vancouver. Every day of the year has it’s own page and each page has a historical anecdote from some time in the last 130 years of history. They’re presented chronologically from January 1st to December 31st with an emphasis on the weird little things you may not have heard about,” said Donaldson.

He told us, for example, this past week, in BC History, in the 1970s, the Province lowered the legal drinking age to 19. This was something which had not happened in the history of Canada. This changed a lot of things in the province. His favourite story is that two BC residents have been attacked by sharks.

Three years of research went into the book. It started as an internet project and turned into a book deal. The book is in its second printing. People around the province are interested in the book.

“Perhaps this day in Kitimat is the next installment,” said Donaldson. “It’s interesting to see this juxtaposition of nature and industry kind of stacked on one another. […] I would like to look more into what gives this place its identity and look into its archives and see how it’s grown and evolved.”