Joan Margaret Bridgeman grew up on a farm near Oak River, Manitoba and travelled annually to visit relatives in Kettle Valley, B.C. She attended University of Manitoba--B.A., Cert. Education--and taught high school in rural and northern Manitoba. She received a Masters in Canadian literature from University of Manitoba in 1981. She moved to Agassiz in 1989 and now lives in Hope. She has worked in social service agencies and in federal corrections before leaving to write. She writes educational materials, gives courses and workshops, speaks to tourists and she tutors.
CITY/TOWN: Hope (Vancouver)
DATE OF BIRTH: December 16, 1948
PLACE OF BIRTH: Rivers, Manitoba
ARRIVAL IN CANADA: 1948
ARRIVAL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: 1989
ANCESTRAL BACKGROUND: Celtic
EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: instructor, teacher, trainer
Here in Hope: A Natural History. Oolichan. 2002
Signs: An Anniversary Anthology (editor). Hope Writers Guild. 1998
At Elly's Cafe (editor). Jade Mountain Press. 1997.
Circles of Light. Self-published. 1994)
First Prize. Inspirational Writing. Writers Digest. 1999.
Short-listed. Anvil Press 3-Day Novel Contest. 1998.
Honourable Mention. Anvil Press 3-Day Novel Contest. 1996.
Runner-up. Stephen Leacock International Poetry Contest. 1995.
Here In Hope (Oolichan $22.95)
Joan Bridgeman’s fascination with geology was written in the stars. “According to my Chinese horoscope, I’m Earth, Earth & Earth,” says the author of Here in Hope: A Natural History (Oolichan $22.95). “I have always collected rocks. It’s a passion I inherited from my mother.”
“Growing up in Manitoba, we learned about the Canadian Shield. When I moved here to the mountains, everything was so different, and there was so much more variety in the landscape, I wanted to understand what I was looking at.
“I wanted to be able to read the rocks.”
Bridgeman has produced a hybrid history of her hometown of Hope--a geological journey, an ecological memoir and a biography of the town.
“It’s like time-lapse photography. You start at the beginning and overlay the images...Different readers can enter it along different paths—hiking, geology, history, human understanding or misunderstanding.
Bridgeman notes that her town of Hope has been attached to three different federal constituencies in seven years. “Feelings of connection and are tenuous,” she says.
Bridgeman is active in the Hope Writers Guild but she disclaims any superior insights. “I cannot begin to pretend to understand how the people of Hope feel,” she says. Her hometown profile doesn’t paint a picture of contemporary life in Hope; it situates the place in time and evolution.
(SUMMER 2003 BCBW)