Saturday, October 14, 2023 - 10am-4pm at Florence Filberg Centre in Downtown Courtenay

Bill Engleson


Author headshotBill Engleson is an author/retired social worker. He was born in Powell River and raised in Nanaimo.
He resided in New Westminster for many years, retiring to Denman Island in 2004.
He writes fiction, essays, poetry, and occasional letters to the editor.
His poetry has been included in numerous Vancouver Island anthologies including Drift, Poems and Poets from the Comox Valley.
Over the past few years, he has written reviews for the British Columbia Review including books by Hugh Greer, Daniel Wood, Luke Whittell, Jack Knox (Opportunity Knox and Hard Knox) and Mike McCardell as well as contributing an essay on the Denman Island Dora Drinkwater Library.
His first novel, Like a Child to Home came out in 2013. In 2016, Silver Bow Publishing released his second book, a collection of humorous literary essays titled Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul.
Currently, he is working on a prequel to his first novel, Drawn Towards the Sun, and a long simmering mystery, A Short Rope on a Nasty Night.
His story, Fidelity, recently took second place in Geist’s short long-distance writing contest.
His second novel, The Life of Gronsky, was released in February 2023.
His refurbished website /blog is



The Life of Gronsky (Literary Fiction
True Crime/Crime Fiction)

Like a Child to Home: “November on the Canadian West Coast; it’s often wet, miserable and dark. Lives get messy; streets are unsafe. Wally Rose is a brooding, sporadically up-beat, old-time social worker. Carla Prentice is an overwhelmed, single mother of two teenagers, one who has lost his way, another who may be losing hers. The Prentice family, paralyzed by fear and silence, can barely keep a lid on their out-of-control lives. Wally is juggling a convoluted caseload of youth, each coping with more than their fair share of adolescent struggles, the taxing muddle of leftover family distress, and a baffling child welfare system they are submerged in. An old file comes back to bedevil Wally. A habitual line-crosser, he may have pushed his luck one too many times. Wally has been “nurturing” kids and fellow workers for decades. He has little patience for red tape and is a thorn in the side of his employer. He is also running out of gas. He hopes he can fill his tank one more time, not only to save himself, and those he cares for, from a capricious system, but also to draw his career to a close on his own terms.”

Confessions of An Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul:

“Bill Engleson has written a very funny book filled with stories rooted in truth, and leavened with affection. The island, the people, and all that unfolds in between will keep you chuckling as you hang on for the ride. It makes me long to return to Denman.” Terry Fallis, two time winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, “The Best Laid Plans” 2008; “No Relation” 2015.

“The chapter titles tell us much. “Turnip Love.” “Up and Down the Garbage Chute.” In fact, the Table of Contents alone may put a smile on your face that will last the whole time you’re reading this book — except when you catch yourself laughing out loud. Bill Engleson is lively, entertaining, wise, and full of surprises.” Jack Hodgins, author and winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence 2006; and Order of Canada inductee 2009.

“This book is unremittingly mischievous. Its author ought to be exiled, like Napoleon, to some small island off the coast and made to subsist on a diet of boiled turnips and old western movies. Read it and see for yourself.” Des Kennedy, author, islander, turnip grower… and award-winning journalist, broadcaster and environmental activist.


Bill is based in Denman Island.


Gilbert Gronsky has taken up writing late in life and decides in 2021 to spread his writerly wings and enter a three-day novel contest over the Labour Day Weekend. As he writes his ‘novella,’ a mystery, his life alternates between emerging mini-chapters, minor interruptions, his passion for the US Open tennis tournament, his lover, his friend, and, at one point, a shocker of a visitor in his garage. In November, Gronsky fashions a more complex crime novel set in post-war Canada, 1946-48. As he writes, he is occupied by a plethora of larger world actions including extreme weather events, COP 26, Haiti missionary kidnappings, love, food, and Covid. And, of course, tennis wherever it pops up on television.


YES. I want In!

Thank you for your interest in attending the Big Island BookFest.

Response has been overwhelming. We are close to capacity so have moved to a Wait List model.

If you would like to be considered for available spaces, please complete this form and we’ll advise as soon as a space comes up.