An Autobiography

Murphy Shewchuk at Bear Glacier near Stewart, BC, Canada.

Murphy Shewchuk
Writer, photographer and book author.

I grew up in the British Columbia mining town of Pioneer Gold Mines during the late 1950s. I developed a triple interest in outdoor exploring, photography and electronics while still a teenager. After a stint in the Royal Canadian Air Force in eastern Canada, I and my family moved back to B.C. to a job in electronics with writing and photography as my major side interests.

Newspaper Columns & Magazine Articles

In 1971, my work took me to Kamloops B.C., where I began writing a weekly Outdoor Scene column for the Kamloops Sentinel newspaper. From the column, I moved on to freelance features in a variety of magazines. More than 500 of my newspaper and magazine articles and 2200 of my photographs have been published since 1965. They have appeared in such publications as: Adventure Travel, BC Outdoors, Camping Canada, Canadian Geographic, Field & Stream, MotorHome and Trailer Life. I also had photos and features in many other magazines.
While in the Kamloops area, I self-published an outdoor guidebook and the first of my trade paperback books was published by Hancock House Publishers.
In 1975, my day job took me to Merritt where I soon became involved with the fledgling Nicola Valley Archives Association. The group started off primarily involved with historical research material, but within a few years was working out of a storefront museum. In the early 1980s, the Nicola Valley Museum Archives Association acquired its current home and began developing an excellent local museum and archives.
I continued my magazine article and guidebook writing and illustrating into the 1980s while also becoming involved with the Canadian Authors Association and the Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Workshop Speaker

In addition to a life-long interest in photography and exploring the mountains of western Canada, I have been a workshop speaker at writer’s conferences across Canada and in the U.S.A. My writing and photography has received awards from the Outdoor Writers of Canada, the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association and the Macmillan Bloedel newspaper journalism competitions. In 1989, I was pleased to be honored with the Allen Sangster Award for contributions to the Canadian Authors Association.

Book Publishing & Design

Starting in 1989, I took up book publishing as a business (unfortunatly non-profit). I published a dozen titles including a few of my own before returning to freelance writing and photography a decade later. Since then my primary writing markets have been “Backroads” articles for BC Outdoors magazine and guidebooks for Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited of Markham, Ontario. I have also been involved with the design of several books by Pat Ferguson of Clearwater, B.C., Canada.

My books.

Check the detailed book list for more information. ( * denotes co-author)

  • Exploring Kamloops Country (1973) Back country exploring in the Kamloops area.
  • Fur, Gold & Opals (1975) Rockhounding, history and back country exploring.
  • Exploring the Nicola Valley (1981) A guide to Merritt and the Nicola Valley.
  • Cariboo
  • The Craigmont Story (1983) The history of a mid 20th century copper mine.
  • Backroads Explorer Vol. 1: Thompson-Cariboo (1985) Lytton to Barkerville.
  • Backroads Explorer Vol. 2: Similkameen & South Okanagan (1988) Manning Park to Kelowna.
  • Coquihalla Country: An Outdoor Recreation Guide (1990) Hope – Merritt – Kamloops.
  • Okanagan Country: An Outdoor Recreation Guide (1992) Osoyoos to the Shuswap.
  • Coquihalla Country: A Guide to the North Cascade Mountains and the Nicola Valley (Complete update – 1997).
  • Okanagan Trips & Trails: A Guide to Backroads and Hiking Trails in BC’s Okanagan-Similkameen Region *.
    (Co-authored with Judie Steeves in 1999 and expanded and updated in 2006 and 2013.)
  • Coquihalla Trips & Trails: A Guide to B.C.’s North Cascade Mountains and Nicola Valley (2007).
  • Cariboo Trips & Trails: A Guide to British Columbia’s Cariboo Gold Rush Country (2008).
  • The Canadian Writer’s Guide: Managing Editor of the 12th and 13th editions.

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