Thursday, 28 March 2013 10:15

It’s a privilege to live on the Prairies says Sask. author

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Author Candace Savage signs copies of her book. Author Candace Savage signs copies of her book. Photo by Rose Sanchez

Long-time Saskatchewan author Candace Savage is heartened to hear about the work being done in the South Saskatchewan River Basin by the South East Alberta Watershed Alliance (SEAWA).

Savage was one of the speakers for SEAWA’s annual general meeting held March 19 in Medicine Hat.
She is the award-winning author, from Saskatoon, of numerous books including Prairie: A Natural History and A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape. The latter most recently won the top-paying non-fiction prize in Canada ($60,000) the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize and is up for three Saskatchewan book awards.
She read from both books at the meeting, sharing her story of “coming home.”
“The book is about what I have been required to learn by going back and back and back to Cypress Hills over the last 10 or 11 years,” Savage told the Prairie Post in August of 2012 when A Geography of Blood was set to be released.
The book tells the story of the Cypress Hills and the settlement of the Western Plains.
“For the first time, I’ve used a first-person narrative, making me a character in the story. It describes my encounter with the hills as a landscape that remembers, literally records, events that the rest of the prairies have forgotten.”
“I’m heartened by the work you’re doing and projected to do,” Savage told the SEAWA audience.
She said she has always been struck by how hard it is to get people involved in water issues and the disconnect that exists with something that is so critical to life.
Savage has always felt like a “prairie person” having been born in Peace River, Alta. and raised and educated in Alberta. She now lives in Saskatoon and enjoys time at a second residence in Eastend with a view of the Cypress Hills.
“These books are my way of coming home,” she said. “I didn’t really understand what it meant to be a prairie person.”
She added both Prairie: A Natural History and A Geography of Blood have occupied the better part of a decade of her life and helped her better understand why she was “planted here.”
Savage explained she wrote A Geography of Blood as a way to attempt to fill in the gaps in her understanding after writing Prairie: A Natural History, particularly surrounding indigenous occupation of the land.
She said through the research and writing she has discovered she has the privilege of living in an “extraordinary place.”
“The work you are all doing to steward this land, ensuring you leave it in a better condition than we inherited it in, is so important.”

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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