North Island author Diane 'Honey' Jacobson reads from her most recent book

A life with the salmon

Local author Diane “Honey” Jacobson reads at the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre.

Elena Rardon

Gazette staff

PORT HARDY—A local writer brought the past back to life during a reading of her award-winning novel at the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre Saturday.

Diane “Honey” Jacobson—who goes by her maiden name, Diane Alfred, outside of publishing—read passages for an audience from her new novel My Life with the Salmon. The book is an autobiographical account of her experience working for the Gwa’ni Hatchery. Jacobson, a ‘Namgis author from Alert Bay, worked at the hatchery off and on from the 1970s to 1999.

The novel is dedicated to Bert Svanvik, Jacobson’s former boss, who passed away in 2007. Her goal in publishing the story was to promote a love and appreciation for the salmon and the ‘Namgis valley, but also to commemorate Bert by setting down events of the past. “It brought Bert back to life in print,” she said Saturday.

She talked briefly about the devastating effect that climate change and colonization have had on local salmon populations, as well as the hatcheries. “I try to stay away from politics,” she warned at the beginning of her reading. “But it’s very hard to keep it out entirely.”

Jacobson has had her share of adventures at the hatchery, from river rafting to a close encounter with a family of elk, and so My Life with the Salmon is packed with action. But there is also heart—Jacobson’s writing style is infused with a warmth and humour, but also a sense of wonder of the natural world around her.

“It’s about learning to respect the river, respect the valley, and respect the water at all times,” she said. She tried to thread an Aesop’s Fables aspect into the story, with each tale offering a life lesson.

My Life with the Salmon is Jacobson’s second novel with Theytus Books, a publishing house based out of Penticton that promotes Indigenous authors, illustrators and artists. Jacobson’s first novel, a memoir called My Life in a Kwagu’l Big House, was picked up as an educational resource by Simon Fraser University, while My Life with the Salmon is the winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award. Jacobson currently has a third novel underway with Theytus Books.

 

Just Posted

North Island Rising: Minority Rules – Women & Politics

Male politicians continue to out number female politicians in the North Island.

North Island Concert Society reports on a successful season

It was a successful season for the NICS in terms of increased attendance.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: The Merry Widow Mountain trail

“Early morning light is best for photos of the face of the mountain”

Kwakwaka’wakw families march in Port Hardy in honour of MMIWG

Red dresses lined Market Street in honour of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

20th Anniversary of Family Fishing Weekend coming to North Island

Choice of 14 events held on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read