Author impresses Port Hardy audience

Kitimaat author Eden Robinson appears in Port Hardy's Cafe Guido to read from her works.

PORT HARDY—There was standing room only in Port Hardy’s Cafe Guido last week as celebrated Kitimaat author Eden Robinson appeared to read from her works.

Robinson attended as part of North Island College’s Write Here Readers Series and read from her works Monkey Beach and The Sasquatch at Home.

The Haisla writer began her literary career with the critically acclaimed Traplines, a collection of short stories.

In 2000 she released her debut novel Monkey Beach, set in Kitimaat territory, to further acclaim, winning the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and making the shortlist for the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Chief George Hunt welcomed Robinson to the event, telling her with a smile that he came to hear about the sasquach.

Robinson’s easygoing manner and infectious laughter quickly endeared her to the assembled crowd as she introduced herself and her work to an appreciative audience.

Her dark humour shone through as she recounted tales of sasquatch encounters and feast preparations.

The clearly informed audience took full advantage of the question and answer session to pick the author’s brain on topics from inspiration to writing process and upcoming works.

One fan, with barely contained annoyance, asked whether the ending to Monkey Beach was left so open-ended intentionally. Robinson noted the subtext with a laugh and explained that she herself was frustrated by reading so many stories where the conclusion and moral were neatly wrapped up and handed to the reader, and wanted to allow the reader a role in how the story ended.

“I get a great sense of what type of person I’m speaking to when they tell me how Monkey Beach should have ended,” she confided, giving examples of the optimist’s ending versus the pessimist’s.

News that she was currently working on a new novel, “a tawdry band council romance,” was greeted with joy from several quarters and knowing nods and nudges from others.

Robinson’s connection with her culture and traditions was evident throughout the evening, as she opined on the coming year’s hulichan grease potential, explained the calendar rock and recalled berry picking.

While she may have begun the evening with some fans in the audience, Robinson clearly ended with many more, won over by her writing, humour and sincerity.

The Write Here series continues on the North Island with the arrival of poet Wanda Kehewin on April 26.