In the next First Thursday event at Surrey Art Gallery, Canadian historical fiction novelist Doreen Brust Johnson will tell her story of writing novels while having no formal education beyond Grade 11.
The monthly artist talk will feature Surrey-based Johnson at the Bear Creek Park gallery on June 6, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
Johnson’s “A Dream is to Write” session will describe her journey from Prairie girl to author of three books, including Walking Barefoot in My Shoes, Sounds in My Shadow and Momma, Momma, the Preacher’s Comin’.
The latter depicts her mother’s life as a pioneer in the barren north where their family struggled to survive.
“Throughout my life, I’ve learned that being poor meant I would need to do it myself,” Johnson says. “Determination, desire, and tears brought me through.”
According to a biography posted to surrey.ca, Johnson was born in 1939 and raised in a log cabin north of Carrot River, Saskatchewan. Her parents were homesteaders. She spent her teen years in Vancouver. After completing Grade 11, she needed to leave school to go to work. Letters to friends and relatives and short stories for newsletters were her only outlet to fulfilling her writing desire. With an unfilled passion for writing at age 76, she seized an opportunity to write her first story. Two more novels soon followed.
The gallery’s First Thursday talks are presented by Surrey Art Gallery Association (SAGA), a non-profit society.