Eileen Delehanty Pearkes explores landscape and the human imagination in conference presentations, books, essays and online media. Born in the United States, educated at Stanford University (B.A., English) and the University of British Columbia (M.A., English), Eileen has been a resident of Canada since 1985. Her personal biography, education and academic interests, her perspective on landscape, water and culture is uniquely bi-national and firmly grounded in place.
Publications include: The Geography of Memory (Kutenai House Press, 2002, second printing 2010); Heart of the River (pb&j press, 2004; second edition 2015); The Inner Green (Maa Press, 2005), River of Memory (edited by William D. Layman; UBC Press, 2006), The Glass Seed (Timeless Books, 2007), and A River Captured (Rocky Mountain Books, 2016). Several essays have been published by Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe & Mail. Anthologies include Going Some Place (Coteau Books, 2000) and Facts and Arguments, Selected Essays from the Globe & Mail (2002). From 2002-2009, she wrote for the award-winning yoga magazine ascent, with an essay anthologized in Inspired Lives, the best of real life yoga from ascent magazine (timeless books: 2005). She was also invited to contribute to The Purcell Suite (2007), and Seasonings (2010), books that emphasize the value of local culture and landscape.
As a public speaker, Eileen’s work focuses on the natural history and human culture of the upper Columbia River region in British Columbia, Canada. More recent presentations include: Learning from Our Past, a trans-boundary conference on the Columbia River Treaty, Spokane, Washington, October, 2014; Future of Our Salmon, a conference on salmon restoration to the Columbia in Portland, Oregon, April, 2014; Ethics and the Columbia River Treaty: righting historic wrongs; 4th Annual International Columbia River Symposium, Poulson, Montana, October, 2012; American Water Resources Association AGM, Ellensburg, Washington, September 2012; Selkirk College MIR Centre for Peace, September, 2011; 2nd Annual International Columbia River Symposium, Kimberly, B.C., October, 2011; local respondent at a presentation on water given by Robert Sandford in Nelson, B.C., October, 2011; Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, November, 2011 – a lecture on fur trade explorer David Thompson.
In 2014, Eileen guest-curated an extensive exhibit on the history of the Upper Columbia River system for Touchstones Nelson and Columbia Basin Trust, with specific reference to dramatic ecological changes as a result of water storage dams required by the Columbia River Treaty (1961-64). The exhibit won a 2015 Canadian Museum Association award of excellence. She writes two popular columns on Canadian landscape, water policy and indigenous history for The North Columbia Monthly and the online news website, The Nelson Daily. In 2017, she was appointed the City of Nelson 2017 Cultural Ambassador.