Charlotte Gill’s seventeen back-breaking years as a tree-planter have paid off in spades. Her newest book, Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe, has won her the prestigious and lucrative 2012 British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. It was also short-listed for both the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize, and the Charles Taylor Prize; and was a Globe and Mail Best Books of 2011 choice. And now it has been chosen as the inaugural Queen’s University Common Reader.
Eating Dirt is a remarkably thoughtful, sensitive, and beautifully written ode to the life of a tree-planter and the importance of the forest itself. A priceless addition to Canadian non-fiction, it is listed amongst Quill & Quire’s Best Books of 2011, who describe Eating Dirt as, “not out of place alongside other classic memoirs of the bush by Susanna Moodie or Farley Mowat.”
Charlotte took her first tree-planting job when she was a nineteen-year-old student at the University of Toronto. She kept at it for seventeen seasons, despite the gruelling physical nature of the work and sometimes insanely harsh conditions. Asked why she stuck with it for so long, she told the CBC, “I can’t simply answer that question. But I’ll try. Planting trees taught me how to be miserable on the outside and happy on the inside, instead of the other way around.”
Charlotte lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, along with her husband Kevin, a physiotherapist and former tree planter. She was born in London, England, to parents who were both doctors, and was raised in both Canada and the United States.
Charlotte’s previous book, Ladykiller, won the BC Book Prize for fiction, and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines including Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories.
Charlotte Gill’s Ladykiller is serialized!
Read a story from Charlotte Gill’s first book of fiction.
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