Young James, a fourteen-year-old, boards the last lifeboat in Julie Burtinshaw's Dead Reckoning (Raincoast, 2001 $9.95), a fictionalized account of the 1906 grounding of the steamship Valencia off Pachena Pt., Vancouver Island, in a treacherous area known as 'The Graveyard of the Pacific.' Of the 164 passengers and crew, only 38 survived. Dead Reckoning is the term for establishing a ship's position by log or compass when observation is impossible.

Adrift (Raincoast, 2003), Julie Burtinshaw's second novel for young readers, is the story of a brother and sister living in an unhappy Toronto household. When their mother is diagnosed with clinical depression, Jack and Laura are sent to their Aunt's home in Desolation Sound, B.C. Based on accounts about love and other powerful emotions 'beyond the grave', Burtinshaw also published Romantic Ghost Stories (Ghost House Books, 2003), a collection that explores lovers united in death, the lasting effects of a lost love among the living and, most dramatically, "the tempestuous infidelities whose painful consequences never fade away."

In 2007, Julie Burtinshaw was selected to serve as writer-in-residence at the Pierre Berton Writer's Retreat in Dawson City for April, May and June. The writer is housed free of charge in the boyhood home of author Pierre Berton in Dawson City, Yukon. This program was initiated by Pierre Berton and is organized by the Yukon Arts Council in Whitehorse and the Klondike Visitor's Association and the Dawson City Libraries' Association in Dawson City.

Her next book was The Perfect Cut (Raincoast Books, 2008). According to publicity material: "After the death of his tough, guitar-playing, much-loved sister, Michelle, Brian finds it increasingly difficult to care about anything. He doesn't care about his parents. He doesn't care about his friends. He doesn't care about school. He just doesn't care anymore. The only time Brian comes alive is in the few seconds it takes for the razor to slice through his skin. But he never cuts deep enough to cause any real damage. At least, not yet... Told from the perspective of the grief-stricken Brian who, in his mind, has run out of options for coping, it's clear that while he makes some bad choices, he's not a bad person. The book ends on a grace note, reassuring young readers that even terrible obstacles can be overcome, and that where there's life, there is hope."

Birtinshaw's first creative non-fiction novel, Hangman: The true story of Canada’s first official executioner (Tidewater, 2022) tells the story of John Robert Radclive. After immigrating to Canada in 1890, Radclive became the country's first professional hangman in 1892. He proved to be a reluctant hangman and took on the job to ensure that death came quickly to convicts sentenced to hang. In Birtinshaw's story, Radclive comes to question the Canadian justice system and his role within it. From publicity: "Based on extensive historical research and contemporaneous newspaper accounts, Hangman recaps the history of capital punishment in Canada and the ambivalence of public attitudes toward it through a highly personal lens."

CITY/TOWN: Vancouver

DATE OF BIRTH: May 26, 1960



Hangman: The true story of Canada’s first official executioner, Creative non-fiction (Tidewater, 2022) $22.95 978-1990160-14-1

Saying Goodbye to London, Young Adult Fiction (Second Story Press, 2018) $12.95 9781772600292

The Darkness Between the Stars, Young Adult Fiction (McKellar Martin Publishing, 2011)

The Perfect Cut, Young Adult Fiction (Raincoast Books, 2008)

The Freedom of Jenny, YA Historical Fiction (Raincoast Books, 2005)

Romantic Ghost Stories, Adult Short Stories (Lone Pine Publishing, 2004)

Adrift, Young Adult Fiction (Raincoast Books, 2002)

Dead Reckoning, Young Adult Historical Fiction (Raincoast, 2001) $9.95

[BCBW 2022] "Kidlit"