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Caitlin Author Explores History of the Railway in BC


July 20, 2010

Meet author Jane Stevenson at two readings and slide shows for her new book, The Railroader's Wife: Letters from the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (Caitlin Press). Jane will be appearing in Prince George on Tuesday, August 10 at 7:00pm at Books & Company (1685 3rd Avenue) and in Prince Rupert on Tuesday, August 17 at 7:00pm at Rainforest Books (251 3rd Avenue West).

The Railroader' 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 and engaging narration.

Stevenson's slide show and book also feature a stunning collection of photographs which illustrates the enormous task of constructing a railway along the Skeena River and through the Bulkley Valley to Burns Lake.

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.

This event is free and is made possible with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Caitlin Press Books & Company and Rainforest Books. For more information, please call Books & Company at 250-563-6637 or Rainforest books at (250) 624-4195.