Reading the peninsula

Stories of the Saanich Peninsula

When I landed in Vancouver in December 1998, a light plane flew me across the Georgia Strait to Victoria, the British Columbian capital.  Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island, where my husband had lived for many years before he met me.  Our Canadian sojourn lasted five and a half years, most of it spent in Sidney, the small fishing town on the tip of the Saanich Peninsula.  I made many writer friends there and ended up doing a stint on the Saanich Peninsula’s community arts council as their literary representative.  My predecessors had conducted regular readings, major events in Sidney’s literary life, when  writers from eastern Canada fly across the continent to share the platform with the locals.  A Sidney writers festival started up when I was there, and the town has designated itself Sidney Booktown.

My own contribution to this ferment was this anthology, in which the wealth of literary talent in the area was showcased.  The council funded the project.  All the production work was local, everything from the typesetting, design and printing.  As well as the editing, I designed the cover.  Sales were good, and the book was reprinted after I returned to Australia.  The hope was that later volumes would feature other writers and other literary forms but, as far as I’m aware, Reading the Peninsula remains a one-off venture.

There is, however, one more thing to say about it.  At one stage, after the selections had been made and the typesetting done, the book was looking too slender.  As said, my purpose in suggesting the project was to draw attention to the Peninsula’s literary talent; the book needed heft, to be heavy in the hand.  The solution?  One more story.  As it was too late to ask for more submissions. I wrote it myself.  For an editor that was unseemly, so I created an alter ego for it, with a name of her own and her own contributor’s bio.  But when Reading the Peninsula was finally launched, everyone wanted to know who the hell Charlotte Biscay was.  And whenever I was asked, I couldn’t help cracking up, and gave the game away.  The sad thing is that ‘The Pond Hunters’ could be my best published story but, alas, it wasn’t mine.  Charlotte went on to bigger and better things when on my return to Australia she started doing corporate work.  She’s arguably my most creative invention.               
Sara Dowse the author and artist

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Manly, NSW, 2095, Australia
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