A perfect book for the holiday season has just been launched by first-time author and Tsawwassen resident Jamie Lamb.
A former reporter, film critic, Ottawa bureau chief and columnist for The Vancouver Sun, Lamb wrote stories for the paper’s Christmas editions that take place in the town of Orillia, Ont. — called Mariposa in the book, courtesy of Orillia’s long-time summer resident, Stephen Leacock— and are set at Christmas.
The stories form his new book, Christmas in Mariposa.
“Setting a story at Christmas allows an author certain advantages,” Lamb told the Optimist. “The stories are more likely to trigger the Christmas experiences and memories of the reader, and that means the reader is more likely to be moved to laugh or to shed a sentimental seasonal tear, more likely to experience a genuine emotional response.”
He said he took some of the Vancouver Sun stories — and wrote some new ones — and set them along a lakeshore street in Mariposa.
“The idea is that I take the reader on a walk of my old street, telling the Christmas stories of the remarkable people who used to live there,” Lamb said. “Ultimately, these are the best stories I know. Put them all together and they will — I believe — create a sense of time and place for a reader, regardless of where they grew up, one that they recognize from their own lives and is, hopefully, worthy of their emotional involvement.”
Lamb said he started this project about two years ago.
“For me, it was time to tell these stories. You shouldn’t sleepwalk through your life without acknowledging who and what makes life worth living,” he said.
Christmas in Mariposa was launched in late November in Vancouver. He then flew to Ontario to launch the book at an event at the Leacock Museum in Orillia and will host a book signing at Black Bond Books in Ladner on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m.
He said so far reaction to the book has been very positive.
“It went out to four media personalities and they were lovely, very kind reviews,” he said. “I was a newspaper columnist, but that was years ago, so this is kind of a voice from the past. I’m very happy and proud of it.”
Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour, said, “In Christmas in Mariposa, Jamie Lamb has given us wonderful, wry, and wistful stories filled with humour and heart. He has restored Mariposa to our literary map, where Leacock first put it so many years ago. Bravo.”
Writer and broadcaster Bill Richardson added, “Jamie Lamb’s stories about Mariposa —Leacock’s Wonderland, Canada’s Camelot — are artfully written and beautifully told. Christmas in Mariposa has the markings of a Canadian classic.”
Early in his career Lamb was a reporter at the Orillia Daily Packet & Times.