Kootenay memoir wins historical book award

By Contributor
May 7th, 2024

Heritage House is proud to announce Galena Bay Odyssey: Reflectionsfrom a Hippie Homesteader has received a 2024 Historical Writing Award, presented by the British Columbia Historical Federation.

On Saturday, May 4, the recipients were announced and acknowledged at the BC Historical Federation’s annual conference and awards dinner, held this year in Chilliwack. Author Ellen Schwartz was in attendance to receive the Community History Award, for her memoir, Galena Bay Odyssey: Reflections from a Hippie Homesteader.

The annual Historical Writing Competition presented by the BC Historical Federation recognizes the authors whose books have made the most significant contributions to the historical literature of British Columbia. The Community History Award is presented to a book that provides sought-after historical information about a specific community or locality within British Columbia. This award recognizes the importance of preserving local histories, as well as broader provincial histories. For more details about the BC Historical Federation’s Historical Writing Awards, visit bchistory.ca/awards.

Galena Bay Odyssey: Reflections from a Hippie Homesteader traces Ellen’s journey from a born-and-raised Jewish urbanite from New York who was terrified of the woods to a self-determined logger, cabin-builder, gardener, chicken farmer, apiarist, and woodstove cook living on a communal farm in the Kootenays. Throughout the memoir, Ellen reflects on what her homesteader experience taught her about living more fully, honestly, and ecologically.

Ellen Schwartz is the author of eighteen award-winning books for children, as well as one non-fiction book for adults, a collection of profiles of women singer-songwriters. In addition to writing books, Ellen works as a corporate writer and editor and as a freelance magazine writer who has published hundreds of magazine articles. Ellen has taught creative writing classes for many years at the college and university levels. Her passions include reading, jazz
dancing, baking, and hiking. After a decade of being hippie homesteaders in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Ellen and her husband now live in Burnaby, BC.