Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw First Nation’s author Lucy Haché received a warm welcome from her hometown during the official launch of her prose book ‘Clouds’ at Café Guido in Port Hardy on Thursday, Aug. 25.
The cozy café was packed wall-to-wall with spectators by the 7 p.m. start time, with people literally standing outside the doors looking inside with anticipation.
“I had no idea how many people were coming out to receive the book,” said Haché.
“So many people showing up to celebrate made it feel real. It made me feel like I can be a writer, and I felt so much pride from the community. It was really overwhelming for me.”
At Bay Press representative Matt Joudrey came all the way from Winnipeg to help facilitate the book launch, asking Haché questions from his laptop regarding her inspiration for writing ‘Clouds’, while adding little anecdotes about things like how easy the editing process was on the project, and how excited At Bay Press is to work with her again in the near future.
“I’ve submitted a short story for their annual fiction anthology, and I’m working on a similar book to ‘Clouds’, which is about stars. At Bay Press requested it,” said Haché.
Throughout the event, Haché bravely opened up to the audience about her very personal book while twirling an eagle feather in her hands to help keep calm and collected while speaking.
She discussed the history of ‘Clouds’, her personal feelings behind her writing, what she learned about herself from working on it, and how the whole project actually came to fruition.
“We were in Indonesia,” Haché said, adding that she had just gotten married and was on her honeymoon when she got the call from At Bay Press to write for them. “I just sat down and started writing in a little room while thinking about Port Hardy and the west coast.”
One of the most entertaining moments of the night came about when Haché told a story of how she let her parents edit her manuscript before she sent it off to the publisher.
She ended up having to choose between her parents version and her own original copy.
Which one did she choose? She opted to go with her original version because “It was a moment where I had to really trust myself.”
Overall, Haché felt the book launch went far beyond her own expectations. “I was so blown away by the support from the community. There were a lot of people I didn’t even know who showed up, and the atmosphere was really warm and engaged.”
Haché added that all her writing is “very much influenced by Tsulquate and Port Hardy – and because my writing is so inspired by living here, I wanted to share it with the community. Café Guido is a community gathering place in Port Hardy and it has such a beautiful atmosphere that I felt it was the perfect spot for launching the book.”
‘Clouds’ is a meditative poetic prose book filled “with intimate revelations on self-awareness and identity,” said At Bay Press in a press release.
“Through skilled restraint and beautifully astute description, Haché’s prose reaches past her own contemplation to connect us all. Masterfully illustrated by artist Michael Joyal, his stunning and meteorologically accurate cloud drawings contribute to the overall sensory and transcendent experience.”