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

How will Port McNeill spend property tax money in 2020?

Bill Mcquarrie investigates the Town of Port McNeill’s budget process for 2020.

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ near Quatsino

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Striking Western Forest Products workers willing to ‘modify position’ if talks progress

Brian Butler, USW 1-1937 president, says union and WFP to meet Thursday, Dec. 12

Midgets tie Alberni Valley Bulldogs, lose to Kerry Park Islanders

It was a bit of a rough road trip for the North Island Midget Eagles.

Help ‘Stuff the Goose’ at the Port Hardy Airport

The fundraiser ends on Dec. 18 so that the food bank can process all the donations before Christmas.

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

North Island-Powell River MP surprised by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s resignation

But it doesn’t change anything for the NDP, Rachel Blaney says

Owner surrenders dogs chained up outside among scrap metal, garbage to BC SPCA

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

B.C. plane crash victim identified; witnesses describe ‘explosion’

He was a flight instructor, charter pilot and owned an airstrip before leaving Alberta

BC Hydro offers tips as collisions with power poles increase

Region with the largest spike in collisions was the Lower Mainland at 16 per cent

Most Read