Works

Margaret Horsfield’s most recent book, Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History  (Harbour Publishing, 2014), co-written by Ian Kennedy, resulted from many years of researching and writing about West Coast history. This is her third book about the west coast of Vancouver Island. Recently nominated for the 2015 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize, the book covers the overall history of this internationally famed area, ranging from pre-European contact until today, showing how it emerged from rain-drenched obscurity to become a tourist mecca.

Margaret Horsfield’s highest profile book until now has been the prizewinning Cougar Annie’s Garden (Salal Books, 1999, see below) profiling an extraordinary pioneer and her garden on the remote coast of B.C. It was followed by Voices from the Sound: Chronicles of Clayoquot Sound and Tofino 1899-1929 (Salal Books, 2008), based on long-forgotten letters, diaries and memoirs, bringing alive many stories and personalities from the West Coast of Vancouver Island in the early twentieth century. “In my research for this book,” she wrote, “I unearthed so many obscure documents in so many unlikely locations that at times I felt nearly deafened by all the chatter, all the voices. I met countless memorable characters who have become part of my life.”

Before starting to write about the West Coast, Horsfield’s earlier books reflected her wide-ranging interests as a documentary maker. Her first three books all grew out of features and documentaries she made for the BBC and the CBC.

Her quizzical and critical examination of housework, Biting the Dust (Fourth Estate, England, 1997; St. Martin’s Press, USA, 1998) was described by the Guardian as “ such a relief of a book.” It takes a light-hearted, sharp-eyed look at our domestic obsessions, taking on the advertising culture, the gender divide, and our strangely conflicted attitudes toward cleaning. Widely reviewed on both sides of the Atlantic, this book has been described as a “sprightly cultural history.”

Horsfield’s first two books survey the origins of the Biblical stories about the birth and death of Jesus. These two books were co-written with her father, Peter Horsfield, an Anglican minister. Beyond Bethlehem (CBC Enterprises, 1989) examines the birth narratives, and was hailed by Gregory Baum of McGill University as “A brilliant introduction to the reading of the Bible.” This was followed by Beyond Golgotha (Brechin Books, 1993), examining the origins of stories of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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