Pit Pony author Joyce Barkhouse dies – (CBC News – February 3, 2012)


This article is from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/

Joyce Barkhouse, the Nova Scotia-based children’s author who wrote Pit Pony, has died. She was 98. Nate Crawford, executive director of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, said Barkhouse died on Thursday in Bridgewater, N.S., following a heart attack.

Pit Pony, the story of a boy and his horse working in the coal mines of Cape Breton, was her most popular book, drawing letters from people living in mining communities and from horse lovers across Canada. It was published in 1990.

The book was a notable one named by the Canadian Library Association, received the first Ann Connor Brimer Award in 1991 for “outstanding contribution to children’s literature in Atlantic Canada” and had international distribution.

Barkhouse had been interested in the wild horses of Sable Island and conceived the story after learning that they were used in coal mines in Cape Breton because of their small stature.

In 1997, it was made into a CBC-TV film that co-starred Ellen Page and garnered three Gemini Awards, including best writing in a dramatic program or mini-series.

In 1999, the movie was spun off into a 44-episode mini-series, also for children.

Barkhouse was born Joyce Killam on May 3, 1913, in Nova Scotia. She attended a two-room village school in Woodville, Annapolis Valley, and grew up surrounded by horses.

She studied at teachers college and taught all subjects in a one-room school with students in grades 1 to 11 in her early years.

She gave up teaching when she married and later lived in Halifax, Charlelottetown and Montreal, before returning to live in Bridgewater.

In her youth, Barkhouse wrote for a Sunday school newspaper and later published in teachers’ publications and the Family Herald and Weekly Star, a national newspaper.

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