Darrell J. McLeod

Is Sooke Greater Victoria’s best kept literary secret?

With several well-known authors living here, there’s not much doubt

Billed as Wild By Nature, it’s no surprise that Sooke conjures up scenic images of snow-capped mountains, flowing streams, glistening oceans, and boot-travelled hiking trails.

But there’s another side to this picturesque town on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca that might comes as a surprise.

With a half-dozen well-known authors among its residents and a social scene revolving around local coffee shops and the Sooke Writers’ Collective, Sooke could be Greater Victoria’s best kept literary secret.

“The area attracts a lot of artists and creative people from all genres,” said Doni Eve of the Sooke Writers’ Collective.

“We just have such beautiful and inspiring geography, whether its mountains or oceans. It’s just a great place to be a really good source of creativity.”

Local writer Sheila Thomas agrees.

“Sooke is just full of creative people,” she said. “The Sooke Fine Arts Show is a fine example of the bursting talents that live here.”

Among the well-known writers who call Sooke home:

Darrel J. McLeod is a Cree from treaty eight territory in northern Alberta. Before deciding to pursue writing in his retirement, he was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. McLeod won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction last year for his first book Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. He’s working on a second memoir following the events in Mamaskatch.

RELATED: Sooke author wins Governor General Literary Award

Wendy Morton has lived in Otter Point for more than 45 years. Morton is a nationally-recognized poet who has made an outstanding impact on Indigenous communities. She also started the Random Acts of Poetry movement which encourages poets across Canada to read poems to strangers and give them books. In 2017, she was appointed to the Order of B.C., and has also received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada for her projects which have brought honour to Canada.

RELATED: Sooke resident receives Order of B.C.

Angela Dorsey has lived in a number of small towns throughout B.C. She’s written professionally for more than 20 years. Dorsey has written 34 juvenile novels, many of them printed in numerous languages by different publishers around the world. In addition to authoring novels, she also writes screenplays, short stories and poetry. She’s working on a collection of new and previously published works, Upon Our Shores.

Jim Bottomley was a runner-up for the nationally-prized Arthur Ellis Award for mystery writing this year for his unpublished manuscript Hypnotizing Lions. Bottomley’s life is as varied as his writing. He runs his own consulting business as a futurist, but he also considers himself a lyricist and enjoys collaborating with other musicians to co-write songs. Hypnotizing Lions is expected to be published within the next year.

RELATED: Sooke author shortlisted for national writing prize

Joké Mayers was born and raised in Nigeria, and while her career has spanned many fields, her love of writing has remained constant. Mayers has authored and produced many literary and artistic creations including poetry, biographies, cookbooks and paintings. She is working on a collection of short stories and other books. Mayer is the editor and publisher of the J. Mayers Group, a writing, editing, and book publishing service.

Sheila Thomas describes herself as an emerging short-story writer, and was recently a finalist in the Federation of B.C. Writers Short Fiction Contest. Thomas is also an accomplished poet and playwright. She studied acting in Los Angeles and attended Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Que. to learn play writing. She’s working on a play about artist Emily Carr, and plans to travel next year in a refurbished school bus living the life of Carr.

RELATED: Sooke painter highlights Emily Carr at all-portrait show



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich landfill gets used oil and antifreeze dropoff centre upgrades

BC Used Oil Management Association oversees upgrades, two new facilities in province

Colwood man to ride 400 kilometres to fight kids cancer

Man riding for a beloved family member who died from leukemia at 13-years-old

Saanich woman completes 10 marathons, raises double her initial goal amount

Over $20,000 raised for Victoria Hospitals Foundation

UPDATED: Missing 25-year-old Saanich woman found Saturday

Yuhan Jin thought to be travelling by foot or bus, carrying two suitcases

PHOTOS: Kids, parents cool off at Langford splash park

Centennial Park is home to a popular water feature

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Most Read