Bill Engleson is a Canadian author and retired child protection social worker. He was born in Powell River, BC, raised in Nanaimo, and spent his first year of life trapped aboard his parents leaky fishboat. He resided in New Westminster for most of his adult years, retiring to Denman Island in 2004.
He writes long fiction, flash fiction, essays, poetry, letters to the editor, and, of late, the occasional book reviews for the Ormsby Review, a new online journal about B.C history and literature.
He has been writing most of his life. His first couple of efforts, poetic in nature, were printed in his mid-teens (quite a long time ago) in the, now, sadly defunct Nanaimo Daily Free Press.
He self-published his first novel, Like a Child to Home in 2013. Silver Bow Publishing released his second book, a collection of humorous literary essays titled Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul, in October, 2016.
Additionally, he has had flash stories published in a few modest publications including two Centum Press anthologies, One Hundred Voices Volumes One and Two.
As a side note, he appeared in a locally produced music video two years ago as a portly, slightly balding, suspendered, card playing (cribbage) human prop. Thus far, the five minutes and change Conrad Campbell video of his song, Big Electric Jesus, has had over 100,000 views. Nothing to do with Bill’s appearance, however. Half of our island (a slight exaggeration) also appeared.
Here is the link for the rock and roll curious.
I first “met” Bill Engleson through an introduction from JP McLean, an A-RI Author who also lives on Denman Island. When I asked Bill for his updated information for this post he added the following: Incidentally, Jo-Anne McLean and another local writer/videographer, have been filming a few of us to be a part of a virtual Denman Island Readers Writers Festival. A very energetic, community-minded author is Jo-Anne.
I promoted Bill’s books on Reading Recommendations and quite enjoyed his writing. When he was about to publish his second book, a collection of essays, he asked if I’d like to read an advance copy with an eye to reviewing it for him to coincide with publication. As the book was about life on an island, I said yes! My review was eventually published in the Denman Island newspaper, which was kind of cool for me! (Review is below.)
Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul
Published by Silver Bow Publishing
When I moved permanently to a small Caribbean island, there was a saying within the long-term expat community: Why would we want to change what brought us here in the first place? Unfortunately, those outsiders who arrived during the decades following me didn’t get this same memo. So I approached Bill Engleson’s new collection of essays with complete understanding and empathy.
Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul is writing with a glint in its eye and an upwards curve to the lips. Yes, these are rants about the inevitable changes that come to any small place once it’s discovered, but through these rants Engleson manages to also preserve the memory of that which brought him to Denman Island in the first place. With this collection, we have a unique opportunity to see what life was like before those other gentrifying souls moved into “Ruraltania” and changed it into something that closer resembled their way of life they left behind back in the big cities.
Peppered with relevant quotes from famous authors, comedians, and other thinkers, these essays (both previously published and new) on island and small-town life, cover subjects as diverse as: libraries, librarians and unusual objects found inside borrowed books; the usefulness (or not) of committees; censorship; tradition; the generation of ideas; local characters and curmudgeons; movies and old episodes of Leave It To Beaver.
So even though you have never lived on an island or in a small place, there’s still a great deal of insight into life in general to be gained from reading Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul. Engleson’s writing is comfortable, and very much like chatting over coffee while sitting in mismatched upholstered chairs in front of a wood fire. In fact, the entire book is like reminiscing with an old friend.
~ Susan M. Toy, author of the Bequia Perspective novels
(This review was previously published in the Island Tides newspaper of Denman Island)
What Bill Engleson is working on now: At the moment, Bill is working furiously, in between moments of sloth, on several new projects, including a prequel to his first novel entitled Drawn Towards the Sun, a mystery, A Short Rope on a Nasty Night, and, a bit of a longshot, a collection of home-grown, satirically tinged essays, DIRA Diary: Tall Tales of Democracy in Traction.
For more information about Bill Engleson, please see his website.