Author Tags: Kidlit & Young Adult, Women
As of 2016, Luanne Armstrong had published twenty books [see below] in a variety of genres. She won the 2014 BC Chocolate Lily Award for I'll Be Home Soon (2012) and other titles have received other nominations. Among them, her book of essays, The Light Through the Trees: Reflections on Land and Farming (2012) was a finalist for The Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.
Kootenay-born-and-raised, Luanne Armstrong is an organic farmer on a fourth-generation family farm in the small community of Boswell, B.C. With her MFA degree from UBC, she has increasingly taught writing (as an adjunct UBC professor of Creative Writing, at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, and for evening courses at Langara College). Along the way Armstrong has worked as a feminist researcher, a freelance journalist, publisher and editor for Blue Lake Books and HodgePog Books.
Blue Valley: An Ecological Memoir (Maa Press 2008) describes her lifetime relationship with a heritage farm on the east shore of Kootenay Lake where she grew up, describing the history of the land, the disintegration of a community and the sadness of a shattered family. "I stayed in Vancouver for seven years," she writes, living in a landscape of cars and buildings and noise and exhaust fumes. When I left, it seemed odd to me that I had lived somewhere for so long and still couldn't find anything about it to love."
Armstrong's first juvenile novel, Annie, is about an heroic cowgirl in the early west. Similarly her juvenile novel Into the Sun is set in the Red River region during a terrible flood when 12-year-old Reine Lagimodiere must perform heroically save her younger brothers and sisters.
The heroine of her first novel for adults, Bordering, is 'bordering' on coming out as a lesbian, trying to find the courage to live in her smalltown and come to terms with the truth about her ex-husband.
The Bone House is a novel set in an apocalyptic B.C. where corporations rule. Vancouver has deteriorated into a landscape of gated communities, gangs, squalid squats and sinister welfare agencies. The heroine Lia flees to a commune in the Kootenays where she fights to keep the land. The Bone House was shortlisted for the Canadian Sunburst Award for Science Fiction and the Relit Prize for Fiction.
For reluctant readers, Armstrong has written Maggie and Shine, a girl-and-her-dog story set in the sheep-herding backwoods of B.C., as well as Arly and Spike, a girl-and-her-horse story. When Arly befriends a colt who has been mistreated, her mother tells her Spike will need a lot of care before he can be resold. Arly works hard to prepare Spike for a big horse show at the end of the summer.
Her YA novel, Jeannie and the Gentle Giants, was nominated for Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year; the Sheila Egoff BC Book Prize award and the Red Cedar award. It received honourable mention in the Silver Birch Award and was named by McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg as one of their top ten all-time best children’s books. Her essay, Tuning the Rig, won the Canadian Author’s Association first prize.
Her children’s book, Pete’s Gold, is a boys' adventure story based on a true tale of lost gold on her farm.
Her young adult novel, I'll Be Home Soon (Ronsdale 2012), follows the quest of a homeless but far from hapless girl named Regan who searches for her mother amid the perils of the inner-city. It's not a bleak tale of life in the shadows; Regan discovers compassion and help from a wide variety of people.
Morven and the Horse Clan (Great Plains 2013) is a teen novel set in 3500 BC. Centered around strong-willed Morven, the tale follows her and her tribe in the steppes of Kazakhstan as they fight to endure a drought. Along the way, Morven's natural affinity for animals leads her to form a bond with a herd of wild horses and realize that they are more than just food. While Morven wishes to use her newfound knowledge simply to survive, an ambitious young man from another tribe desires to use it for conquest.
In her teen novel, Sand (Ronsdale 2016), fifteen-year-old Willy Cameron is paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. Demoralized, she takes up therapeutic horse riding and regains the use of her legs, developing a bond with a spirited rescue horse named Sand. Trouble arises when she takes Sand from the stable, against the order of the stable owner, to search for a missing friend. It's Armstrong's 19th book.
DATE OF BIRTH: June 15, 1949
PLACE OF BIRTH: Creston B.C.
Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Blue Valley: An Ecological Memoir
Sand (Ronsdale 2016) $11.95 978-1-55380-473-4
Morven and the Horse Clan (Great Plains Teen Fiction, 2013) $14.95 978-1-926531-74-8
The Light Through the Trees: Reflections on Farming (Caitlin, 2012) $24.95 978-1-894759-95-3
I'll Be Home Soon (Ronsdale, 2012) $11.95 978-1-55380-180-1
Pete's Gold (Ronsdale, 2008)
Blue Valley: An Ecological Memoir (Maa Press, 2008) $23 978-0-9685302-4-5
Breathing the Mountain, Leaf Books, 2003 (poetry)
The Bone House, New Star Books, 2002 (novel)
Into the Sun, Hodgepog Books, 2002. Illustrated by Robin LeDrew. (children's story)
Jeannie and the Gentle Giants, Ronsdale 2001 (young adult novel)
Maggie and Shine, HodgePog Books, (young adult novel)
The Colour of Water, Caitlin Press, 1998 (novel)
Arly and Spike, Hodgepog Books, 1997 (children's novel). Illustrated by Chao Yu.
The Woman in the Garden, Peachtree Press, 1996 (poetry chapbook)
Bordering, Gynergy Books, 1996 (novel)
Annie, Polestar, 1995 (juvenile novel)
Castle Mountain, Polestar, 1981 (poetry)
[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2016] "Kidlit" "Women"