The internationally recognized novelist Shaena Lambert recently made a virtual visit to Marnie’s Books, on Cortes Island. Four of works have been chosen for Best Canadian stories and the Globe and Mail recognised three of her previous novels as books of the year. Lambert is also a dedicated environmentalist, who was arrested twice during the Burnaby Mountain protests, and continues to actively oppose oil pipelines and logging of old growth. In the most recent Folk U Friday radio program, the Vancouver novelist explained why she chose to virtually launch her new novel, Petra, on Cortes Island.
Lambert wrote much of the book on Cortes and loves going to Mansons Friday Market, going to dances, swimming and the local community.
As for Petra, Lambert explained:
“In the 1980s I got, as many many people did, incredibly involved in the peace movement. We can sometimes forget just how horrifying it was to live under the nuclear shadow. I was really scared. I was coming of age in that time. I got involved in the peace movement and we invited Petra Kelly, founder of the Green Party and the leader in Germany’s fight against nuclear missiles, to come to Vancouver.”
“I should pause for a second and explain that at that time there was a kind of ground zero for the nuclear protests and it was Germany. That was because NATO planned to put Pershing missiles and Cruise missiles in West Germany. Then there was the iron curtain. East Germany and Russia had SS20 nuclear missiles on the other side.”
“So what they said is we are preparing for battlefield nuclear war. Everyone knew, generals knew and most analysts said ‘this is going to escalate into all out nuclear war within minutes.”
“People were terrified. We lived and breathed that atomic terror the way we live climate anxiety now …”
Links of interest:
- Manda Aufoch Gillespie’s visit to Marnie’s Books (and interview with Shaena Lambert) on Folk U Friday
- Rochelle Baker’s article about Marnie’s bookstore – “Small Book store with Big Draw on Cortes Island”
- Shaena Lambert’s website
Top photo credit: Mushroom cloud from the explosion of Castle Romeo in 1954 – courtesy US Department of Energy via Flickr (public domain)
This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.