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Keith Billington visits the Okanagan & Northern BC
Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2010
Keith Billington will be signing copies of his new book, Cold Land, Warm Hearts: More Memories of an Arctic Medical Outpost, at the following locations this Christmas season:
• Vernon: Friday, December 10th at 3pm at Bookland Vernon (#100-3400 30th Ave)
• Kelowna: Saturday, December 11th at 2pm at Mosaic Books (411 Bernard Avenue)
• Kamloops: Sunday, December 12th at 1pm at Bookland Kamloops (750 - Fortune Drive)
• 100 Mile House: Monday, December 13th at 1pm at Nuthatch Books (#1-104 Birch Avenue)
• Williams Lake: Tuesday, December 14th at 1pm at The Open Book (247 Oliver Street)
• Quesnel: Wednesday, December 15th at 1pm at Carryall Books (329 Reid Street)
Keith Billington’s surprise bestseller, House Calls by Dogsled: Six Years in an Arctic Medical Outpost, described Billington and his wife Muriel’s experiences providing medical care to a string of isolated First Nations settlements in the Northwest Territories during the 1960s.
In Cold Land, Warm Hearts: More Memories of an Arctic Medical Outpost, Billington uses his talent as a patient, heartwarming storyteller to dish up more tales of the medical emergencies, native traditions and wild landscape that make the Canadian north such a compelling place.
Time and again, the Billingtons were awoken in the middle of the night to find someone rapping on the station door with a life-threatening emergency, which often ended by lighting a makeshift airstrip with rolls of toilet paper soaked in kerosene. Once the plane took off again to bring the patient to the hospital in Inuvik, Muriel and Keith would boil water for coffee and start preparing for the next day’s treatment clinic.
Billington writes about the ease of falling asleep after a long day on the dogsled and waking up to the smell of fried caribou meat and bannock; the warmth of fur-fringed parkas and moosehide mukluks. He introduces us to unforgettable Gwich’in characters — people who have sustained a traditional way of living while adjusting to the inevitability of change. Cold Land, Warm Hearts is an adventure story that rounds out the Billingtons’ Arctic saga with a deepened understanding of the far North and its people.
Keith Billington trained as a registered nurse in Britain and later studied public health nursing at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He and his wife Muriel, also an English-trained nurse and midwife, emigrated to Canada to work at the Fort McPherson Nursing Station in the Mackenzie Delta. They had two children born in the North and a third was born later in British Columbia. Keith and Muriel now live in Prince George, BC.