“Pauline Le Bel is a delicate, respectful, passionate storyteller and a dedicated activist.” Mark Abbott, review of Whale in the Door in The Province, November 28, 2017.
I have been a full-time writer and singer for over 40 years. I worked in professional theatre where critics called me “a musical instrument linked to a soul” for my passionate portrayal of French singer, Edith Piaf, in a play I co-wrote and performed in Vancouver, Victoria, London, Edmonton and Montreal. This is a photo from that play. I was also called “a national treasure” for my performances in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well in Calgary and Edmonton. Just to let you know: all this praise, although really nice, is not easy to live up to. In the past few years I have been mostly wearing the writer’s hat.
My most recent book of literary non-fiction is Whale in the Door: A Community Unites to Protect BC’s Howe Sound. With a foreword by Elizabeth May and photos by Rich Duncan, it is a book that has helped me fall in love with Howe Sound, a spectacular fjord in Vancouver’s backyard.
“This is a story that was begging to be told, and Le Bel tells it in a unique voice that ranges from mystical through scientific to activist.” Dr. Julie Gardner, Adjunct Professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC
“I loved it! It is inspirational. I’ve learned so much.” Robert Ballantyne, Chair, Board of Directors, BC Spaces for Nature
“Whale is well-researched and Le Bel is a delicate, respectful, passionate storyteller and a dedicated activist…“Reading Whale in the Door is a wonderful experience marking the ongoing efforts of the Squamish Nation and its allies to protect Howe Sound from once again being poisoned for profit…The additional importance lies not just in its history lesson but also within the scientific facts Le Bel weaves into the prose effortlessly without losing her narrative…Pauline Le Bel takes us on a journey – both hers and the Howe Sound itself – that is unforgettable and inspiring.” Mark Abbott, The Province
Le Bel’s new book, Whale in the Door: A Community Unites to Protect BC’s Howe Sound (Caitlin Press), is all about making space for a new story to shape the way we see and approach the land… Though full of information even locals will likely not know, it’s not at all academic. While her previous book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, took its energy from sadness and loss, this one, she tells me, is born out of gratitude and love… Le Bel’s care, not just as a writer but as a person, is what leads us into the book’s heart, and hers.” Amy Reiswig, FOCUS on Victoria
“Le Bel’s filmmaking experience has clearly honed her ability to show and not tell, and to get what she wants from primary sources – the people concerned. Her extensive research is impressive.” Pacific Yachting
“A history, travelogue, grassroots activism log, and plea for sustainability, Le Bel’s book is a cautiously optimistic exploration of this regionally significant area.” Brett Grubrsic, Vancouver Sun
“Thanks for thinking of using our legend and my words to put it into a modern context.” Chris Lewis, Squamish Nation Councillor and Spokesperson
“Thank you for WHALE IN THE DOOR! As an ardent “fan” of Howe Sound, I chose your book to share with our book club. There are currently 12 of us who have been meeting and participating in discussions for over 30 years!
It was a quite a learning experience – your active research and participation with numerous individuals and groups who are working hard to maintain and improve Atl’kitsem, is so important. You made us aware that the best approach is to embrace the native ways of respecting mother earth and and all she provides, how to protect, how to give back. Thanks again for making us more aware.” Jacqueline Rauh
“Reminds me that amazing artists like Pauline Le Bel have so much to say about healing our precious earth.” Ramona de Graaf, Marine Biologist
Published in October 2017 by Caitlin Press – 208 pages with spectacular colour photographs by Rich Duncan – $24.95
To purchase a copy: http://caitlin-press.com/our-books/whale-in-the-door-community-unites-to-protect-bc-howe-sound/
For a signed copy email me: songspinner(at)shaw(dot)ca
My first book of poems, They Ask Me Why I Sing So Loud, was published in May 2017 by Collins Foundation Press. In her review, poet Susan McCaslin wrote: “Le Bel is above all else a praise-singer whose poems cal us to participate in the universal song.” Retail price: $15. For a signed copy, email me: songspinner(at)shaw(dot)ca
My literary non-fiction book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, was published by Collins Foundation Press in 2013. Part love story, part battle cry, part call to adventure, it weaves our new science-based cosmology with the traditional wisdom of indigenous people and my passionate engagement with life and the natural world. Inside are Intimacy Guides, Resources and Links to fascinating people making a difference. I hope the book will act as a powerful guide to help us heal our relationship with our planetary home.
My writing has been recognized internationally: Emmy-nomination and Cable ACE Award for Best Writing for The Song Spinner, a feature- length drama about the transformative power of music. Young Aurora grows up in The Land of Pindrop, a silent world where music – and all noise – is forbidden by the Hush Law. When she meets Zantalalia, a mysterious old gypsy woman, she learns the truth about music and begins an adventure that will bring the light and the song back to her people. The film starred Patti Lupone, Brent Carver, and John Neville, and received many international film festival awards. I also won a national award for my novel, The Song Spinner.
My award-winning novel based on the screenplay was published in 1994 by Red Deer Press and is now available for purchase through me: songspinner(at)shaw.ca
I am a longtime member of The Writers Union of Canada, The Writers Guild of Canada, The Federation of BC Writers, and the Creative Non Fiction Collective.
Music has been the great love of my life. And two things have guided me on this amazing musical journey: my longing to sing and my deep love and connection with the natural world. More recently, I’ve been hanging out with scientists, attending science conferences, giving papers on music and the role of the artist, and writing songs inspired by recent scientific discoveries. I also give vocal playshops to help the shy find their voice.
I have released 5 CDs of original songs: Dancing with the Crone, a musical journey into conscious and juicy aging; Rescue Joy, songs about loss and starting over – proceeds to the David Suzuki Foundation; La tendresse, my French CD with songs of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and my own French songs ; Deep Fun: Songs about Science, Food and Sex, my CD of amusing songs ; and Voices in the Sound, the soundtrack to my cosmological musical about Bowen Island. All my songs are registered with S.O.C.A.N.
To listen to my music, visit my blog.
All CDs can be purchased from me – songspinner(at)shaw(dot)ca. Deep Fun, Rescue Joy and La Tendresse can also be purchased from cdbaby
I am part of a growing community working to integrate music, nature, science, and spirit to support a radical transformation in human consciousness. Starting with myself. I welcome these later years of life as a time to care for the Earth, to mentor, to share the hard-won wisdom of a life thoughtfully, if sometimes brashly, lived.
Baiya sheetoora. My music goes with you. Pauline