NEWSOME, Eric




Author Tags: Alcohol, Maritime, Mining

Born in 1924 in a Yorkshire coal mining village, he worked in a shipyard, then joined the RAF as a pilot during World War II. He took teacher training after the war and taught in England and Germany. He immigrated to Canada in 1958, teaching in Montreal and becoming a school principal. He took early retirement in 1979 and moved to B.C., teaching part-time in Abbotsford. His first book, The Coal Coast (Orca, 1989), is a history of coal mining on the west coast of Canada from 1835 to 1900. It takes a comprehensive look at the meteoric rise of Robert Dunsmuir at the expense of B.C. miners. This was followed soon afterward by The Case of the Beryl G: A True Story of Murder and Mayhem in the Rum Trade (Orca, 1989). In the early hours of September 17, 1924, the Beryl G was found adrift in the Strait of Georgia, crewless and blood-smeared. A manhunt led to one of the most sensational trials of the 1920s. The trial of two desperados, Si Sowash and Cannonball Baker, provides a stage for a story about rumrunning from Canada during the American Prohibition. The follow-up was Pass the Bottle: Rum Tales of the West Coast (Orca, 1995), providing tales about he exploits of rum runners such as Johnny Schnarr, Roy Olmstead and the Eggers brothers. Newsome's fourth book is Wild, Wacky, Wonderful British Columbia (Orca, 1997), a pastiche about colourful characters and politics.

[BCBW 2003]