Monthly Archives: February 2016

My Thoughts on a Book by a Convicted Serial Killer

My initial inclination when I first heard of this book was not to dignify its existence with a response. However, I’ve been asked for my reaction several times, so here it is. Someone needs to speak in defense of the victims’ loved ones.

You’ll notice I am deliberately not naming the book or its author because I choose not to give this work any more notoriety or recognition than I already have here.

I believe deeply in the power of story; to heal, to enlighten, to empower, and to shed light in dark corners where we need to go. My own book strives to do these things and I truly hope those family members who have read it found it helpful and not hurtful. Many have told me they have. If I’d thought it would hurt them I never would have written it.

I haven’t read any of this book, nor do I ever intend to in the interest of my own mental health. I do know that in the fewer than 24 hours I have been aware of it, family members of this man’s victims have reached out to me and in the media expressing deep pain and hurt. These scabs have been torn off yet again on wounds that have never been given time to even begin healing.

These are anguished people who have been through absolute hell for so many years. Many of them suffer physical and mental illnesses as a direct result of losing their loved ones and bearing witness to this unspeakable tragedy. The circumstances around this book are so disgusting and unseemly, I can only imagine how they must be feeling. It is cruel and hurtful that it exists.

Yes, there ought to be a law. There may even be one, but I don’t know what it would be or how it would apply or be enforced. In the interests of common decency, I hope people simply ignore this work and decline to give this man a soapbox.

As always, I wish the victims’ loved ones peace.






New Year, New Info

I’m laughing to myself as I write this, wondering if anyone out there follows the blog of someone who only updates twice a year. My bad.

I have a few things to report about That Lonely Section of Hell. The first is that the Ontario Library Association has named it a nominee for their 2016 Evergreen Award. Have a look at the list; I think you’ll agree the book is in very impressive company and I don’t know if I’m even qualified to carry their laptops, but I’m deeply honoured.

The wonderful people at the Campbell River Words on the Water Writers’ Festival have kindly invited me to join them on March 11 and 12 to talk writing and the book. I’m thrilled to be partnered with the incredibly accomplished Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie, another Evergreen Award nominee and CBC Canada Reads selection for 2016. Check out her bio, there’s too much for me to enter here! I’m very excited to hang with her.

Listen to this CBC Doc Project documentary via Definitely Not the Opera on CBC Radio One (the link is live now, but airing Feb. 6) for Angela Sterritt’s moving piece on the life and work of Indigenous activist Lorelei Williams. I talk with Angela as she and I walk near the site of the Pickton farm, which is somewhere I haven’t been since Feb. 2002. Both Lorelei and Angela are talented, brave, resilient, Indigenous women I’m deeply in awe of.

Still in the works, but I’m planning to head up to the Whistler area in March to speak with a group of people at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre about the book and missing and murdered indigenous women. I’m looking forward to this very much, thanks to Linda Epp for making it happen. More details once I know.