A contemporary Yukon storyteller

John Firth launches his latest book, one that includes the signature of a ghost. He has competed in the only two Dyea to Dawson races, in both 1997 and 1998. He has written six books, including the recently-released Caribou Hotel. He grew up in the Yukon with famous family figureheads nourishing his imagination and fostering his love of Yukon history. He continues to embrace the North in wilderness adventures of his own. John Firth is our own contemporary Yukon storyteller.  

Firth’s books profile a wide variety of subject matter. River Times–Racing the Ghosts of the Klondike Rush, weaves together the events of 1898, including the story-within-a-story literary romance of his T.A. Firth grandparents, and succeeds masterfully in paralleling the sweaty Dyea to Dawson athletes with the stampeders of old.  

Firth also profiled the one and only Jamaican dog sled entry in the 2009 Yukon Quest, “One Mush,” and supported Ramesh Ferris in his “Better than a Cure” journey, when Ferris hand-cycled 7,000 kilometres across Canada.

In early 1990, Firth wrote the book that would go on to become an iconic telling of the famous dog race, Yukon Challenge. Firth was a contributing writer for Whitehorse: An Illustrated Guide, published in 2013. With encouragement from George Arcand and the Yukon Sports Federation, he also wrote 2014’s An Encyclopedia of Yukon Sport. It is the one and only compendium of our territory’s collective athletic achievements. Firth credits Kathy Jones-Gates as the researcher who delivered the goods when he needed the details.

Firth said that when writing, he is constantly surprised by what he learns–from the connections of people and places, from unusual stories told by the most unexpected sources and from the memories of old-timers who won’t be with us much longer. Firth captures the experiences of ordinary and extraordinary individuals and creates interesting, humorous and sometimes haunting stories.

Caribou Hotel, Hauntings, Hospitality, a Hunter and the Parrot was launched at a special event earlier this month.

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