Though she has been a wrtier for most of her working life, Penticton author Claire Festal is just getting around to publishing her first book.
Next week, she’ll be holding the Penticton launch of her debut book, Remarkable Yukon Women, at Hooked on Books starting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13 with a talk and book signing.
The book features profiles written by Festel and accompanied by portraits of 50 Yukon women as portrayed by artist Val Hodgson. While the subjects of the book have diverse backgrounds and include businesswomen, community leaders, homemakers, writers, athletes, mothers, teachers, a senator and a gold miner, they were all chosen by Festel to embody the spirit of the Yukon.
Remarkable Yukon Women started over dinner at a mutual friend’s house. Hodgson, who had lived in Whitehorse for 35 years, had begun painting an ambitious body of work that would celebrate Yukon women. Festel, a writer and consultant who had lived over 30 years in the Yukon, had a lifelong ambition to capture, through real life experiences, the allure the North holds for the timid to the independent and resourceful modern pioneer.
It seemed only natural for the two of them to collaborate on a project that would eventually encompass both an art exhibit and a book.
Festel spent hours conducting interviews and months more writing and editing the profiles that provide a window into the lives and personalities of these 50 women. By telling their stories, Festel attempts to provide understanding into how and why this remote frontier adds not just colour, but depth, sensitivity and strength to the Canadian story.
One of the “remarkable women” featured in the book, Rusty Reid, will be attending and taking part in the event with Festel. Reid, who has been playing the fiddle for over seven decades, was one of the founding members of the Northernairs Dance Band, which continued for 56 years. Now living with her daughter in Penticton, she maintains a home in the Yukon.
Call Hooked on Books at 778-476-5621 for more information about the event. Admission is free.