Wednesday, 12 July 2017 08:00

New novel from Alberta author celebrates history in a personal way

Written by  Demi Knight
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Historian and author Anne Hamre has a unique way of celebrating Canada’s grand 150th anniversary, with a historical story.

Although the release of Hamre’s new historically-positioned book Passages occurred shortly before Canada’s golden year she says it wasn’t planned that way.
“This book was 10 years in the making. I originally wrote it in third person and then decided that didn’t work, so I went back and wrote it all in first person. After all my researching and writing when everything was put together it basically took 10 years,”  says the Alberta author.
The novel Passages is a story based on the true events of the lives of Hamre’s grandparents and the journey they took from Europe to finally reside in North America. Although the novel is a fictionalization summary of the story, Hamre says every large event within her novel is true.
“I based everything off facts. Every big event within the novel is true, it was just the smaller linking moments between the large events that are fictionalized. I took a long time to research on everything I could put the events together in the best way I could. So, everything that could be documented is.”
 The harrowing journey which is set in the early 20th Century works to tell the story of her ancestors’ travels across continents to start a new life for themselves. Hamre believes the novel is an important part of Canadian history because it demonstrates how Canada is made up of adventurers and explorers the same.
“I think it’s important to know about these kind of stories because it ties back into history being made by people who actually lived it. Native, European, Far East, we all came from somewhere else to make this country and if we don’t hold onto that, then we may lose it,” says Hamre.
However, there is another reason Hamre believes stories like this must be heard by the Canadian public.
“We tend to get lost next to the U.S. It’s like every kid is pumped full of Americana and our history is kind of put further down, but our history is very important and it’s nice to read about from a first-person story perspective, rather than knowledge straight from a history book.”
Hamre’s first edition of Passages was released last year, however after some editing notes were found, the book was pulled back and re-released this year, just in time for Canada’s big celebrations.
Hamre says she hopes for this novel to be a legacy for her son, and something people want to learn about. When asked why she was compelled to re-tell historic stories Hamre says it’s because history is an important part of the future.
“I think history is the everyday lives of everyday people, and sometimes we lose sight of that, but it’s always important to remember. If we don’t know where we come from, we don’t know where we’re going”
Hamre is a skilled historian and writer who grew up in British Columbia and now writes full time in Edmonton. Although her mother didn’t talk much about her grandparents growing up, Hamre knew it was story that must be told.
Hamre’s new novel Passages is now available for purchase.

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