Editor’s Note: Recently, I had the pleasure of making a presentation at the monthly meeting of the Comox Valley Writers Society. I was there to speak about Tide Change and to invite its 75 plus members to contribute original texts to our virtual pages. As you can see from the reprint of the preface of the book below, writers in our community have been expressing their thoughts, ideas and voices for more than 150 years. I highly recommend that you attend one of their monthly meetings and consider joining the Comox Valley Writers Society. We all benefit from their efforts to create and share stories, books, articles, poetry and blogs about our multi-faceted human experience.
The Centennial Authors Project was inspired by the 100th anniversary of the City of Courtenay. It was proposed to the Comox Valley Writers Society as a legacy contribution to our community. Through the writing of books, authors associated with the Comox Valley have contributed to science and discovery, history and the arts, spirituality and recreation. Some have been distinguished and honoured at national and international levels, others have written and published solely for the enjoyment of family and friends. Whether creating fiction, telling a personal story, or contributing a new discovery these authors all have a passion and a drive to commit words to paper. While technology has changed over the years the need for written expression has not.
Book authors are one sub-set of writers. They were chosen for this project as an easily definable group. This pragmatic decision in no way disparages the equally creditable contributions of other writers: the newspaper columns, magazine articles, opinion pieces, short stories, poems, letters, and more recently ezines, ebooks, and blogs. All writers contribute significantly to the culture of the Valley.
This project honours those who have recorded local history, from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. It also recognizes native sons and daughters who have gone on to contribute elsewhere as authors of books, and those who have migrated to the Valley at a later point in life with books to their credit, or in process, and who now contribute to the cultural life of the area.
The term “Valley” is broadly applied to represent the Comox Valley, approximating the geographical
area represented by the School District—north to Black Creek, south to Fanny Bay, west to Cumberland, and east to include Comox, and Denman and Hornby Islands. While each small community lays claim to its own unique stories, collectively they inform the broader record of local history,
This book has archival value for its documentation of authors and their works. It is also a collection of local information which will provide new awareness to the reading public. There are facts of history, insights into personalities, connections to community, recognitions and awards received, which we hope will cause readers to say: “I didn’t know that!”
At the beginning we hoped we might document 100 book authors from the last century. The project exceeded our expectations, however, with 180 authors over the last 150 years. All reasonable efforts were made to be inclusive; it was not our intent to leave anyone out. There were only a few authors who, for personal reasons, chose not to participate. We are satisfied that this is a reasonably comprehensive record of book authors associated with the Comox Valley between 1865 and 2015.
Important note: Writers & Books: Comox Valley 1865-2015 is currently in preparation for its second printing. To pre-order a copy of the book, visit the Comox Valley Writers Society web site.
In my many visits to Courtenay, I often wondered how this small community could support such wonderful bookstores, when much larger communities cannot. Since reading Writers & Books: Comox Valley 1865-2015, I now have an answer to my question: the region has been crawling with writers for 150 years! How many small communities can boast of such sizeable dictionary of literary biography? This legacy is considerable and the Comox Valley Writers’ Society has much to be proud of.