Author of Made in British Columbia
A Q&A with Laurie Carter
You’ve written many works during your illustrious academic career; why this book now?
I had written the cultural history of Canada over 20 years ago; now it was time to focus on British Columbia.
How did you select the eight people to profile?
There were so many I could have chosen: writers like Earle Birney and Roderick Haig Brown. I chose eight people whose reputations will last and who made an impact on their contemporaries. They were also very different people: some came to prominence, like Martin Grainger, after their death while others like Bill Reid enjoyed enormous success during their lifetimes.
With a Governor General’s Award for your biography Emily Carr, is she your favourite?
No, not at all. I found it extraordinarily moving to write about George Ryga whose play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe I saw in the early 1970s and whose life and work I hold in high regard.
Ryga is connected with the Okanagan, are any of the others?
The OK is often overlooked when people write about culture in British Columbia. But Emily Carr visited this area of the province more than once and Bill Reid did a stint as a radio announcer.
What do you hope readers will take away?
The sense that they have a cultural history that is worth taking seriously?…?that by knowing about the past they will better understand the culture in which they now live.
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