REPORTING · 20th April 2015
The BC Book Prizes Tour came through Kitimat on Monday, April 13th. Two BC authors, Gabrielle Prendergast and Kayla Czaga were in Kitimat to read to schools and the public. Predergast is shortlisted for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for her book: ‘Capricious’ and Czaga is shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for her book: ‘For Your Safety, Please Hold On.’
Czaga, a local author who came from Kitimat, published 50 poems in her first book. “It’s themes are family, childhood, coming of age, there is a bit of death in there, standard figuring out how the world works,” said Czaga.
The poems were written over 7 years, with the majority of them being written in the last two years. Most of the poems were published in magazines. She told us she has always written, her first poems were about her father who has lived an interesting life.
Predergast’s novel, Capricious is the second book in a series for young adults, written in verse. “They’re character driven, and the character is a young girl in high school who moves to a new town and wants to try and reinvent herself because she’s never really fit in that well. It doesn’t go very well, she doesn’t fit in in the new school,” said Predergast.
She expressed the books were about going from being a child to being an adult and figure out how to find oneself in the world. We were told they are also romances. Her inspiration comes from her experiences she has had in her life.
Kitimat was the first stop on this year’s tour. Predergast presented to Kildala Elementary School while Czaga traveled to Mount Elizabeth Middle and Secondary School. While she was at Kildala, Predergast presented a cheque to the children as a part of the Adopt a Library program, which promotes literature in the schools and purchases books for school libraries.
“I think if people want to write, a lot of writers hear this advice: ‘write what you know.’ I don’t think that’s really good advice because most people, especially young writers do not know that much, they have not experienced much life. That’s like telling them, don’t write until you’ve lived longer. I don’t think that’s good advice. I tell my young writer friends to know what they write, which means to find something that’s interesting to you and find out as much about it as you can and then write about that,” said Predergast.
“Read as much as you can, know what’s out there first before you start writing, and this one has been really helpful for me, is find your clan. Find the people out there in the world who you can connect with and who will help and encourage you to keep writing,” said Czaga.
Predergast added there is a huge community of writers and the internet makes it easy to find other writers who are doing the same work you are and finding the supper is important.