Vera Maloff provides glimpse into Doukhobor history as one of two authors sharing local memoirs

By Contributor
February 19th, 2021

The authors of two new memoirs — one on the experience of a journeywoman carpenter, and the other on growing up in a Doukhobor activist family — will be featured at the third Zoom reading in the 2020-21 author reading series presented by Nelson, B.C.’s Oxygen Art Centre.

Reading from and talking about their work on Wed., Feb. 24 will be Victoria, B.C.’s Kate Braid and Shoreacres, B.C.’s Vera Maloff.

The event begins at 7 p.m. Those interested in attending need to R.S.V.P. by emailing info@oxygenartcentre.org to receive the Zoom link and accompanying event information. The reading is free, and everyone welcome to attend. Donations are encouraged: $2 – $5 via Oxygen’s CanadaHelps page.

Oxygen Art Centre, at 320 Vernon St. (alley entrance), is Nelson’s only artist-run centre. Oxygen programming in a variety of artistic disciplines supports local professional-level artists and engages the wider community.

Braid’s new memoir, Hammer & Nail: Notes of a Journeywoman, arises out of 15 years she worked in construction and as a contractor and trades instructor. The book is a collection of essays and stories that reflect on her career in a very male-dominated profession. Hammer & Nail is a follow-up to her 2012 memoir, Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man’s World.

Braid, who also taught writing for Nanaimo’s Malaspina University-College, has published seven collections of poems as well, most recently Elemental from B.C.’s Caitlin Press in 2018. In 2015 she received the Vancouver Mayor’s Literary Arts Award for her contribution to the city’s cultural community.

Maloff’s memoir, Our Backs Warmed by the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life, deals with her grandparents’ and other Doubkhobor families’ activism on behalf of peace and justice during the past 100 years, as lived through and remembered by her mother.

Maloff was born in Nelson and taught in the Kootenay Lake and Kootenay Columbia school districts for more than 30 years. She has remained active in Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ functions, and has taught after-school Russian classes.

One chapter in Our Backs Warmed by the Sun won first prize in the non-fiction category of the Kootenay Literary Competition.  Other material in the memoir was published in Nelson’s literary magazine, The New Orphic Review.

Both Braid’s and Maloff’s memoirs appeared from Caitlin Press in 2020.

Forthcoming Zoom author readings in the 2020-21 series include UBC Okanagan author Matt Rader along with students from Selkirk College’s creative writing courses on March 24.

Kicking off National Poetry Month on March 31 will be a previously postponed book launch by Winlaw, B.C. author Tom Wayman, including readings and music provided by Vernon, B.C. writer and musician John Lent.

Oxygen’s author reading series is supported in part by the B.C. Arts Council and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance and is co-presented by Nelson’s Elephant Mountain Literary Festival.


Categories: Arts and Culture


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