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Caitlin Author Releases New Book on the History of the Railway in BC

Posted: May, 21, 2010

Meet Caitlin Press author Jane Stevenson at a number of events for her new book, The Railroader’s Wife: Letters from the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. She will be appearing at the following locations:

Wednesday, June 2 at 7:00pm at the “Old Church” at First & King, Smithers
Friday, June 4 at 7:00pm at the Terrace Public Library, 4610 Park Avenue, Terrace (co-sponsored by Misty River Books)
Saturday, June 5 at 1:00pm at the Kitimat Public Library, 940 Wakashan Avenue, Kitimat (co-sponsored by Book Masters)
The Railroader’s Wife tells the history of the railway in British Columbia and describes life as a pioneer woman in a series of letters written by Bernice Medbury Martin.

Bernice Medbury married railroader Leslie Martin in 1912 and arrived later that year in Prince Rupert at the height of rock blasting and railroad building. Lonely for her family in Wisconsin, Bernice wrote frequent letters home in which she described in striking detail the machinery and mudslides, the weather and the wilderness, the local characters and the outrageous cost of supplies. She wrote of her frustration at the slow pace of the railway work and her happiness at an invitation to a social event many miles away. She lived in a tent at Kitselas, a hotel in Hazelton, a shack in the Bulkley Valley and a hand-hewn log cabin at Decker Lake. Bernice’s letters span the two final years of Grand Trunk Pacific Railway track building and are neatly woven together by Jane Stevenson’s well-researched narration.

A stunning collection of photographs illustrates the enormous task of constructing a railway along the Skeena River and through the Bulkley Valley to Burns Lake. Bernice travelled to a land her friends and family could not imagine, where she experienced the challenges and joys of the Canadian western frontier and witnessed the construction of the truly “Grand” Trunk Pacific Railway.

Jane Stevenson holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria. She was curator of the Bulkley Valley Museum in Smithers and has been published in Geist, Connections Magazine, the Western Producer and Acreage Life. She is the regular historical writer for Northword magazine. She lives in Telkwa, BC.

These events are free and are sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, Caitlin Press, the Terrace and Kitimat Public Libraries, Misty River Books and Book Masters. For more information, please contact the venues in each location, or email