In 2019 I was inducted into the Vancouver Maritime Museum’s Northwest Passage Hall of Fame. I was very honoured, but due to a mishmash of communications and scheduling, was unable to attend the ceremony. They promised to send me the physical award. Then Covid-19 hit, and packages were lost in purgatory.
But eventually the trophy did arrive, and it looks great in Hong Kong! Sincere thanks to those who nominated me, and to the VMM for this recognition. I share this honour with the crew of the Open Passage Expedition (Hanns, Tobias, Drew, Anna), and with S/Y Silent Sound.
Launched in 2017, the Northwest Passage Hall of Fame Awards were established by the VMM to celebrate important achievements in navigation and exploration of the waterways through the high Arctic. Each year, the awards honour one individual, one vessel, and one expedition to celebrate their achievements and historical significance.
I was inducted as an individual. The other 2019 inductees were the Hudsons’s Bay Company Schooner the Fort McPherson (vessel) and the Northabout Expedition (Expedition).
The Red Mill, the main building of the Vermont Studio Center, in the year’s first snowfall.
I’m at the Vermont Studio Center, in Johnson, VT for a month-long writing residency. The art center is based in repurposed turn-of-the-century buildings in the center of town — houses, church, grain mill, dance hall, gymnasium — all turned into studios, housing and dining hall. It’s a lovely place with about 50 residents in addition to a large community of staff artists and writers. I’m here to work on a series of essays.
Writing residents are given opportunities read their work to the community in regular readings held in the Lowe Lecture Hall, a wonderful old converted theatre. I chose to read from the manuscript of Menno Moto: A Journey in Search of Identity. It’s the first time I’ve read any of this work publicly, and I hope there will be many more readings once it gets published. You can listen to an audio recording of the reading here:
Maverick Studios, where I have been sat writing for the past month, on the banks of the Gihon River
Bradley House, my home for the past month.
Wolf Kahn Studios, filled with incredibly talented visual artists.
For your listening pleasure…a rambling and eclectic three-part interview conducted by Bruce Connolly of Radio Beijing. He was a wonderfully interesting person to chat with, and it’s a shame he edited out his own stories. I suspect he has a much more riveting, and certainly eccentric, story to tell than I do. He’s one of those guys that when you name a place on the globe, any place, he goes (in that lovely Scottish accent of his), “Ah yes, back when I was there in ’72 it was still under dictatorship and this guy I met…” and then you’re off and running on another yarn.
Click on the links below to listen to the MP3 files.