Author returns to Kitimat on book tour after 2012 sailing trip

Author Arno Kopecky returns to Kitimat to promote his book, The Oilman and the Sea: Navigating the Northern Gateway.

Arno will be at the Riverlodge from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 29.


In 2012 it was a nautical trip through the Great Bear Rainforest, a firsthand look at the area where tankers are proposed to come and go to support industry, in this case namely the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

Today, that trip has earned writer and journalist Arno Kopecky a Hubert Evans Non-Fiction BC Book Prize nomination.

Kopecky was in Kitimat this past weekend on a book tour promoting his book, The Oilman and the Sea: Navigating the Northern Gateway.

He said he was motivated to take on the project of the tour in 2012 because he felt the people who actually lived in the Great Bear Rainforest region were not being represented in the media when people were talking about projects like Northern Gateway.

“There’s no roads, one or two airports…so it just seemed like it was this big blank spot on the map of the Northern Gateway debate,” he said.

But Northern  Gateway was, in his words, a plot device to shine a light on the geographic area.

“I was trying to tell a great story as well and I find that I’ve fallen into a bit of an activist advocate role here with this book, which I’m happy to take on because I do feel strongly about this issue but I also take some pride in being a writer who can tell a good story.”

He said he’s pleased with the award nomination for his book which validates his writing.

“The people who give these awards, I don’t think they’re out to validate any particular set of politics. They don’t care for Northern Gateway per sé, they like good stories and they like good literature. Hopefully this award will help me be taken a bit seriously as a writer,” he said.

Kopecky said he planned to also take the opportunity of his visit to apologize to anyone who might have taken an issue with the way they were portrayed in his book.

Some First Nations members, he said, were apparently unhappy with his portrayal of them.

“It was certainly not my intention. I did my best to paint First Nations in a sympathetic light that was also honest. I do believe that came across but I also know what it’s like to be written about, that you are defenceless as the subject of a book.”

The book includes the photography of Ilja Herb, who accompanied Kopecky on the original trip.