Having trouble with gift ideas for family down south this Christmas?
Alison McCreesh hopes she has the answer in Ramshackle – a 144-page semi-autobiographical graphic novel, telling the tale of a first summer living in Yellowknife.
If you moved north to Yellowknife and are forever fending off the question ‘Why?’, or if you grew up here and are constantly asked about it, McCreesh believes the novel can help.
“I’d like to think it answers all those questions you always get asked down south and even up here,” she told Moose FM. “How did you end up in Yellowknife? Did you know anyone? Did you have jobs? What’s it like?
“It’s based on our first summer in Yellowknife, six and a half years ago – getting to town, having Yellowknife grow on us slowly, not being sure about it at first.
“We did it the hardcore way. We were living out of our car when we first got here, then finding jobs – a lot of housesitting, shacks and houseboats. It’s our getting to know Yellowknife.”
McCreesh will launch Ramshackle with a book signing at the Down to Earth Gallery, in Old Town, from 5pm till 7pm on Wednesday, November 11. Copies will then go on sale at the gallery and the Book Cellar.
The illustrator says the full-watercolour novel, which was 18 months in the making, is intended to be a realistic view of Yellowknife – not the romanticized version sometimes seen on TV.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the North and Yellowknife and all these reality TV shows – the one on Animal Planet about the houseboats, the Ice Road Truckers, there’s a slew of these things,” she said.
“This is more of an honest Yellowknife: it’s got all of the downtown and the buildings, and I’m not pretending we’re some last frontier, just shacks by a lake.
“It’s not just the scenic stuff – there’s stuff about trucked water and freezing sewage tanks. There’s real Yellowknife stuff in there.”