"Honey, if you're not on somebody's shit list, you're no damn good!" -- Rita Moir's mother.

While living in Vallican in the Kootenays, Rita Moir published her first travel diary, Survival Gear in 1994, based on her views and travels from the fishing community of Freeport in Nova Scotia. She had worked as a journalist in Nelson, Prince Rupert, Vancouver and Edmonton. Active in the NDP, she also wrote for The Fisherman and the UFAWU newsletter. She became president of the Federation of B.C. Writers and won the VanCity Book Prize, as well as the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize, for her second Canadian travel memoir entitled Buffalo Jump: A Woman's Travels (Coteau, 1999). It's a feminist narrative that takes its title from a place called Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump in Alberta. It's also a story about taking off into new territory, making a leap of faith and trusting the counsel of her mother. With her trusty 12-year-old dog named Connor, Moir drove to Nova Scotia in a rusty Toyota in search of her female heritage. By finding her past, she opened up her future. The book received the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in 2000. Her third memoir is The Windshift Line: A Father and Daughter's Story (Greystone, 2005) in which she recalls her relationship with her father as he is dying. For a review of The Third Crop (2011), see below.

The old adage is that in the “natural order,” parents die before their children. Moir explores her family history of the opposite happening in Not of Reason: A Recipe for Outrunning Sadness (Caitlin $22.95). Both her mother and beloved sister underwent heart surgery in the same week. But it was her sister who died within the year while Moir’s elderly mother lived many more years. “I could recite a dozen instances of children dying before parents, three in my immediate family, four if we include my extended family, six if we go back another generation,” she writes. Moir finds solace in her rural B.C. community and takes her mother’s advice to “opt for joy.”

Born in Minnesota on January 17, 1952, Rita Moir first arrived in Canada at Brandon, Manitoba in 1966. She came to live in the Kootenays, in Winlaw, in 1975.

Photo by Linda Crosfield

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Third Crop: A Personal and Historical Journey into the Photo Albums and Shoeboxes of the Slocan Valley, 1800s to early 1940s


Survival Gear (Polestar, 1994)

Buffalo Jump: Woman's Travels (Coteau Books, 1999)

The Windshift Line: A Father and Daughter's Story (Greystone, 2005)

The Third Crop: A personal & historical journey into the photo albums & shoeboxes of the Slocan Valley 1800s to early 1940s (Sono Nis, 2011) $24.95 978-1-55039-184-8

Not of Reason: a recipe for outrunning sadness (Caitlin, 2021) $22.95 978-1-77386-063-3

[BCBW 2021] "Women" "VanCity"