40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea

Ivan Watson

Special to the News

Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil Bay, with lush native plants and colourful flowers, was the perfect setting for a recent garden party to launch a book that celebrates the uniqueness of island life in the Salish Sea.

“We came together to celebrate the book and to express gratitude to the writers,” says Cumming. “Every place on earth has its own story and there’s a sense with these writers that our islands and their unique beauty are places that ought to be sustained and appreciated over time.”

The book, Love of the Salish Sea Islands is a collection of new essays, memoirs and poems by 40 island writers including Linda Rogers, Briony Penn, Jack Hodgins, William Deverell, Nancy Turner, Stephen Hume and many others. As an anthology, it is designed as a ‘treasury of writing celebrating the beauty, community, and importance of our archipelago.” It lives up to that billing, and more.

“There are over 500 islands at least in the Salish Sea,” says Mona Fertig of Mother Tongue Publishing, who oversaw the book from idea to publication. “I wanted new, original work from writers and I wanted to give a gift back to all of these wonderful islands and it’s been really wonderful; the writers have been fabulous to work with.”

READ ALSO: Bigg’s orcas in the Salish Sea point to shifting habitat of resident killer whales

Oak Bay resident and author Christina Johnson-Dean contributed a piece on escaping to the rugged charm of Gambier Island. “I think it’s wonderful the way the publisher has really brought out British Columbia history and an appreciation of the creative souls and the province and the Indigenous history. Almost all of the writers touched on that in some way.”

Fertig, like many of the writers, has lived and worked on islands for decades. “There’s something magical about an island and its connection to the sea,” she says. “There are so many fragile ecosystems we need to preserve and protect.”

She hopes that readers will be inspired to explore and to help protect more of our region’s diverse islands, while gaining a new understanding and appreciation for their beauty and uniqueness.

Love of the Salish Sea Islands was launched in Victoria on July 27 and is available at local booksellers, BC Ferries gift shops and Amazon.

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