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Haig-Brown writer in residence hopes to reconnect with the rain forest

Andrea Routley will be moving into the Haig-Brown House this winter as Writer in Residence.
Andrea Routley is this year’s Haig-Brown writer-In-Residence. Photo contributed

Andrea Routley will be moving into the Haig-Brown House this winter as Writer in Residence.

Routley is a writer and editor from B.C.’s South Coast. Her work has appeared in literary magazines, such as Geist and The Fiddlehead Review, and in 2020, the title story of her new book, “This Unlikely Soil,” was shortlisted for the Malahat Review Novella Prize. Her debut collection, Jane and the Whales (Caitlin Press, 2013), was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She recently completed her Master of Fine Arts at UBC.

She will use the residency to complete the final revisions on her new novel “Field Guide to Bats and Other Damage.”

“I draw inspiration from behavioural science and biology, exploring the lives of animals through a scientific lens. By educating ourselves holistically about the lives of animals and the capacities of their senses, we’re better able to take that empathic leap to imagine life from another way of sensing — of knowing and being,” says Routley.

She believes we are living in a time of ecological crisis and that art has a unique role in exploring issues.

“I believe creative writing is ideally suited to complex explorations of nature and our relationships to and within it. The novel, for example, an expansive form, and one that ably draws from both scientific data and lived experiences, can not only investigate current realities, complex ideas and ways of relating, but provocatively render possibilities for an abundant present.”

When asked what she is looking forward to most about being in Campbell River, she said, “I’ve missed this daily connection with the temperate rainforest. A residency at Haig-Brown Heritage House will not only provide the time and solitude necessary to complete the substantive revisions of my novel, but, as this novel is set in the rural west-coast, the Campbell River environment will contribute materially to this final revision.”

The connection to Roderick Haig-Brown as a leading conservationist in Canada is not lost to Routley.

“I’m inspired by the idea of working in the former residence of Roderick Haig-Brown, an important writer with whom I feel a kinship as both an environmental writer and a BC writer. To inhabit a space intended for, as Valerie Haig-Brown said, ‘deserving writers and conservationists’ is an honour and a dream.”

A small welcoming reception will be held early-December at Haig-Brown House and on January 14, Routley will present at a public reception held at the Museum from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Routley will also support the local writing community through a number of writing workshops and other public programming.

For more information contact Ken Blackburn at or check out the Museum’s website at

READ MORE: Haig-Brown writer-in-residence typing up a storm in Campbell River heritage house

Finding the good life – thoughts from Roderick Haig-Brown

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