Fireside Chats with Local Authors


Download to Calendar:
Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE
Friends Program Room

Fireside Chats with Local Authors

The next event is coming up on September 17, 2024

For many of us, the search for peace and contentment is a familiar theme. For some, home and family are what settle us. For others, inner peace is found through travel and connecting with the land wherever they find ourselves. The three authors in the September edition of Fireside Chats with Bow Valley Authors explore some of these themes in three extraordinary books.

Bring a friend and take part in an ongoing conversation about writing, storytelling, and the craft of spinning tales to share with readers. How do writers manage to wrangle their big ideas onto the page and then, write enough pages to fill a book? Turns out, no two authors tackle the challenge in quite the same way.

Snacks provided. Books will be available for purchase.

Each event will include a book exchange table. Bring a book you love (gently used or new) for the exchange table and leave with another to read.

Learn more about our September Authors:

Jane Marshall
Over her 17-year career as a travel writer, Jane Marshall has wandered the planet, always in search of wild, high-altitude, off-the-beaten-track places. During her travels she discovered something profound. On three continents, separated by vast oceans, she found hidden valleys known locally as “Happy Valley.” Her quest: to discover what makes them happy and learn from their Indigenous keepers.

In a world facing environmental devastation, illness, and unprecedented mental anxieties, Marshall’s book, Searching for Happy Valley: A Modern Quest for Shangri-la offers an alternative. She immerses herself in the land and forms deep connections with its people so she can learn sustainable ways of living their Indigenous populations have honed over millennia.

From a goat herder’s hut in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, to a Sundance ceremony with the Blackfoot/Soki-tapi people of Alberta, and ultimately to her dangerous pilgrimage in Nepal where she reaches the heart of a sacred land studded with treasures hidden by a famous yogi, Jane Marshall takes readers on the greatest adventure of all: The search for Shangri-La and the wisdom that can save the planet and our own hearts.

Jane’s Socials:

IG: @janeandthemountains
FB: /see.write

IG: @rm_books
FB: /rmbooks

Meghan Ward
Meghan J. Ward is an outdoor, travel and adventure writer based in Banff, Canada (Treaty 7 territory), a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the author of Lights to Guide Me Home. Meghan has written several books, as well as produced content for films, anthologies, blogs and some of North America’s top outdoor, fitness and adventure publications.

In Lights to Guide Me Home Meghan takes us on a trip around the world while chronicling her transitions through some of life’s major milestones. From Costa Rica to Nepal, Rapa Nui to Malta, Meghan explores what it means to carve out her own identity amidst family expectations, her responsibilities as a parent to young children, and her marriage to an ambitious travel and landscape photographer. Whom will she discover beneath these entanglements?

She and her husband, photographer Paul Zizka, love to explore the wild and the world together and take their two young daughters along for the ride.

Meghan’s Socials:
IG: @meghanjward
FB: /meghanjoyward 
IG: @rm_books
FB: /rmbooks

Christine Nykoluk

Christine Nykoluk has been writing in various formats for the last 30 years, primarily as part of her work as a Rangeland Management Specialist (now retired). Last year, she released her gripping debut historical fiction novel Heart Stones – A Ukrainian Immigration Story of Love and Hope, which was inspired by her own family’s stories. She completed her dialogue-rich manuscript just months before Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

A recent Kirkus Review shared that Heart Stones is “A historically rich debut novel ...the author skilfully weaves in vivid elements of Ukrainian customs and history ...A poignant work with disturbing relevance to today’s battle for Ukrainian democracy.


Christine’s Socials:
FB: /christinenykolukauthor

Host for the Evening: Nikki Tate

Nikki Tate has lived in the Bow Valley on and off since 1969. The great outdoors never fails to inspire her and she enjoys, among other things, horseback riding, sailing, rock climbing, cross-country skiing and hiking.

Nikki Tate is the author of more than three dozen books (including Writer on Fire: Poetry Prompts to Inspire the Poet Within, co-authored with Carol Thornton, another Canmore author), several thousand articles and blog posts, a couple of short screenplays (including Spindrift: The Barry Blanchard Story), as well as works for the stage, Tate loves to tell stories in a wide range of genres and for all ages. As the founder of Writers on Fire, Tate is also passionate about helping others find the best way to tell their stories.

Nikki’s Socials:
IG: @writergrrrl
FB: /WritersOnFire

What is a Fireside Chat?
A fireside chat is a conversation between a moderator and 1-2 speakers. The conversation follows an interview-style format and gives the speakers a platform to dive deeper into their expertise.

Previous Fireside Chats:

For our April Fireside Chat, we are thrilled to welcome Michael Kerr, Stephen Legault, and Geoff Powter to the panel.

Michael Kerr

Michael Kerr is a Canadian Hall of Fame speaker who speaks worldwide to audiences on workplace culture, leadership, and humour in the workplace.

He is the author of nine books, including, “When Do You Let the Animals Out? A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Humour,” “What’s So Funny About Alberta,” and “The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing All the Way to the Bank.”

Geoff Powter

GEOFF POWTER IS a writer and adventurer who has called Canmore home for the past 35 years. He served as editor of the Canadian Alpine Journal for 13 years and has won 9 National Magazine Awards for his journalism pieces. His 2006 book, Strange and Dangerous Dreams, won the Jury Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Festival, and his 2019 anthology, Inner Ranges, was shortlisted for the Boardman-Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature, won the Climbing Literature Prize at Banff and the National Outdoor Book Award in the US. He has hosted the Voices of Adventure interview event at the Banff Mountain Festivals for 25 years— and counting.

He’s just finished his third book, a biography of the complex life of American mountaineer Jim Donini — Survival is Not Assured — which will be released in the spring of 2024. Geoff lives in Canmore, Alberta, with his wife, Kathi Irvine.”

Stephen Legault

Stephen is an author, photographer, political organizer, and instructor who currently works as the Senior Manager, Alberta Energy Transition, for Environmental Defence Canada.

His 16th book, High Cols and Deep Canyons: Ordinary Adventures in Extraordinary Places will be released in the spring of 2024 through his own imprint Third Life Press. He has called the Bow Valley home since 1992, raising his two grown sons Rio and Silas here. In 2009 he received the Majors Spotlight on the Arts award, and in 2023 was a member of the Canmore Library Endowment Fund support team, and encourages all attendees to consider supporting our Library through this program.

For our first Fireside Chat, we are thrilled to have three exciting local authors bringing their unique knowledge, skills, experience, and creativity to the table: Jordan Bartlett, Katrina Rosen, and Helen Rolfe.

Jordan Bartlett

Born in New Zealand and raised in New Zealand and Canada, Jordan has lived on islands and surrounded by mountains and has fallen asleep to the sound of waves and train whistles. Home was the label given family, not places, and stories of adventure kept her reaching toward the horizon.

A Speech Language Pathologist currently living in Canada, Jordan has a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a Masters of Science in Speech and Language Pathology. She has devoured literature all her life and spent three years working on her first novel, which was released in 2021.

The first two novels in her trilogy: The Frean Chronicles, are now available and the third is soon to be released. Contest of Queens and Queen's Catacombs follow Jacs, a Lower-born who must infiltrate the Upper Realm and earn her place to compete in the Contest of Queens.

Katrina Rosen

Katrina Rosen loves the outdoors. Along with her husband, Mike, they’ve raised their son to believe it’s entirely normal to sleep in huts and tents as often as your own bed, and to spend as much time as possible biking, skiing, hiking, and playing. Eager to share her passions and inspire others, Katrina works as a hiking and cycling guide in the Rocky Mountains, opening up her guests’ minds to the forgotten possibilities in life. When she’s not roaming through the wilderness or competing in ridiculously long races, she can be found curled up by a fire with a cup of coffee, poring over maps and dreaming up adventures.

With You By Bike: One Couple’s Life-Changing Journey Around the World

After many years together Katrina and Mike’s marriage has unravelled. In a quest to mend their relationship, they embark on a year-long, 13,000-kilometre cycling tour with the hope of strengthening their commitment to one another.

The couple ride through barren landscapes, scorching fires, and humid jungles. From backcountry roads in New Zealand, sharing a picnic with a man and his multiple wives in Malaysia, or camping at an orphanage in Cambodia; at every turn, they are touched by locals who feed them stories and laughter. Together they repair 54 flat tires, navigate heat exhaustion in Vietnam, altitude sickness in Tibet, and two robberies before they face the last hard climb to the world’s tallest mountain.

With You By Bike is honest and raw, describing Katrina’s search for forgiveness, acceptance, and change. It’s about rediscovering choice from a bicycle seat, exploring the world, and finding love by veering off the beaten path.

Helen Rolfe

Helen Rolfe is a professional writer and editor in mountain literature and avalanche safety. She is the writing  mentor for the Bow Valley’s Shoe Project (Google that) and the program director at Trail Sports for cross-country skiing and mountain biking. Her first book is titled Women Explorers: One Hundred Years of Courage and Audacity, which became part of the Grade 6 school curriculum in Canada. Her next book, Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei, won the Mountaineering History Award at the 2018 Banff Centre Film and Book Festival and was also shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Award in England.


Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei is the first English telling of Junko Tabei’s story, the first woman to climb Mount Everest. The writing process of this book is unique, as is the story of how Helen wrote Women Explorers: 100 Years of Courage and Audacity. Helen wrote the latter with a newborn in her arms, compiling the stories in her head on long walks with her baby in a running stroller. She then sat and typed like mad whenever her daughter napped.

Event dates

  • Tuesday, February 13, 2024 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 30, 2024 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 17, 2024 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 19, 2024 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.