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Nature Essays

Off the Map

Western Travels on Roads Less Taken

by (author) Stephen Hume

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Nov 2001
Essays, Essays, Essays
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2001
    List Price

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In his third collection of essays, veteran journalist Stephen Hume demonstrates yet again that his understanding of British Columbia - and beyond - runs as deep as Hecate Strait and as far-reaching as the Rocky Mountains. In Off the Map, Hume takes his readers on a wondrous journey through western Canada, stopping at little-known places along the way to take a good look around, talk to the people who live there and absorb the local history and culture.

It is a testament to Hume's skills as a storyteller that he can write a lengthy and brilliant encomium to the Fraser River, praising its many incarnations from headwater to mouth, that is as personal and rivetting as his descriptions of the intriguing characters he has met while journeying into the remote nooks and crannies of BC.

In the Headless Valley of the Nahanni (on the Northwest Territories border), we meet Albert Faille, a trapper and adventurer who "lost his head" there - not to a marauding sasquatch, but to the valley's savage beauty and irresistible mystique. Turn a few more pages and you're on the west coast, where he elegizes the languages that have disappeared from here like drawings in the sand.

About the author

Stephen Hume was raised in fishing, farming and logging communities across Alberta and BC and studied at the University of Victoria. A journalist for over 35 years, Hume was editor-in-chief at the Edmonton Journal before moving to BC to become columnist and feature writer for the Vancouver Sun. He has won more than a dozen awards for his poetry, essays and journalism, including the Writers Guild of Alberta Literary Award, the Southam President's Award and the Marjorie Nichols Memorial Award. Stephen became the first Canadian to win the Dolly Connelly prize for environmental writing. His other books include Raincoast Chronicles 20: Lilies and Fireweed, Bush Telegraph and Off the Map, which was shortlisted for a Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize. He currently teaches professional writing at the University of Victoria.

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