The Kootenays Mourn Literary Maven Holley Rubinsky

Holley Rubinsky, a resident of Kaslo, BC for more than thirty years prior, has passed away at age 72. Rubinksy was much admired and loved for her unflinching intelligence and feminism, and her many literary achievements.

Her second book, At First I Hope for Rescue, was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. The title story in Rapid Transits and Other Stories (Polestar, 1991) won the $10,000 McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize and the National Magazine Award Gold Medal for Fiction (published by Malahat Review). Set in the interior of British Columbia, Rubinsky’s novel Beyond This Point (McClelland & Stewart, 2006) examined the lives of five women dealing with unavoidable change. It was followed by a short story collection, South of Elfrida (B&G $19.95).

Rubinsky first visited Canada in 1970, and immigrated in 1976. From 2006 to 2008, she was the host of The Writers’ Show for writers and readers, produced by Kootenay Coop Radio CJLY in Nelson, B.C. “The show’s purpose,” she wrote, “is to make listeners aware of writers’ lives and to explain the process of writing to readers and others who are interested in how it’s done.” 

With her M.Ed from U.C.L.A., Rubinsky also hosted literary retreats and enjoyed teaching children with disabilities at the Kaslo Elementary School. 

“I was raised by the ocean," Rubinsky said, "with grey skies and smog. Moving to the mountains, choosing a place that would hold me in the long run was what I did when I moved to the village of Kaslo, BC.”

Her final publisher, Ruth Linka, commented upon Holley Rubinsky’s death: “I was honoured to work with Holley at Brindle & Glass, first to publish South of Elfrida and then later when she edited for us. In South of Elfrida Holley wrote about women on the move, physically and emotionally, and even though community and her home were clearly important to her, I will always remember Holley as a person open to others, to new experiences and to travelling in every sense of the word.”

For the complete, in-depth article on Rubinksy's life, visit BC Book Look

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