News Item by Paul Strickland

Established writers, university and college faculty, librarians, students and other members of the community attended a memorial reading at the downtown public library Wednesday for Prince George publisher Cynthia Wilson, who died May 13. The library had on display from its collections more than 50 of the 66 books that Caitlin Press published after Wilson brought it to Prince George in 1991. Her nephew, journalist Patrick White, described boyhood trips with his cousins to Prince George on B.C. Rail in the early and mid-1990s to visit his aunt, and he elaborated on his first impressions of the distinct Prince George environment. Jack Boudreau, author of Grizzly Bear Mountain, Wilderness Dreams and other books, said that without Caitlin Press much of the history of Northern B.C. and its most colourful early characters would have been lost. Jay Sherwood talked about his book Surveying Northern British Columbia, a photo journal of Frank Swannell, who did the first extensive survey of the northern part of the province during the decade before the First World War. He also credited Caitlin Press with preserving many unique accounts of early Northern B.C. history. In addition, there were readings by poets Barry McKinnon, Jacqueline Baldwin and Ken Belford; historian Suzanne LeBlanc; travel writer Vivien Lougheed; and Margaret Thompson, historian, short-story writer and children's author. Kathy Plett, chief librarian from the College of New Caledonia, described the challenges Wilson met in publishing books from Northern B.C. Wilson received about 400 manuscripts per year from writers in the region seeking to have their work published, Plett said. Eighty-five people attended the memorial reading, held in the Keith Gordon Room of the public library's Bob Harkins Branch. Envelopes were made available for contributions to a Cynthia Wilson bursary. The Friends of the Public Library provided refreshments for the event.