After a protracted literary dry spell, a new book of mine is out: The Sky and the Patio (New Star Books, Vancouver). In this collection of 25 essays, I use our backyard patio as a springboard to delve into our human relationship with nature. The essays are rooted in the Okanagan, and embrace such diverse topics as turtles, winemaking, antelopebrush, salmon, fire ecology and book collecting.
The book is difficult to categorize, but the closest fit would be “nature writing,” a term which evokes the now-nostalgic era of Thoreau and Muir, Leopold and Lopez. However, three major contemporary challenges have fundamentally disrupted this romantic literary tradition: the loss of nature, climate change, and Indigenous reconciliation. Writing from within my own honky agnostic settler perspective, my essays attempt to confront those challenges, while still making room for personal communion with nature.
My previous books have garnered a number of writing awards, including the BC Book Award, the Canadian Science Writers Award and the US National Outdoor Book award, among others.
A recent review of The Sky and the Patio:
The book can be ordered through your local bookshop or online at
2 thoughts on “A Book for the New Year”
Thanks Don…looking forward to picking up your latest…!
Hurray! I thoroughly enjoyed your earlier books and this is one of my favourite genres of writing. I’ll be heading into town from our remote little village (Sointula) next week and looking forward to finding it at an independent bookstore.