Beyond Mile Zero: Media Coverage


Beyond Mile Zero reviewed by David A. James in the Alaska Dispatch News, August 26, 2017

Beyond Mile Zero reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly, July 3, 2017

Book Looks at Vanishing Northern Community,” by Nadine McCully, Nexus newspaper, June 14, 2017

Canadian Duo Weaves Together Sparse Population in Beyond Mile Zero“, by Jenny Feniak, VueWeekly, May 18, 2017

New Book Details Life on the Alaska Highway,” in Canada Newsblog, April 4, 2017

Interviews, etc….

BC Booklook recognized Beyond Mile Zero’s Foreword Indies and IPPY award wins.

Recognition of Beyond Mile Zero from the South Peace region. “Harvest Social recalls historic lodges of the Alaska Highway”, by Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, November 22, 2017.

The video segment for NBC KTUU Anchorage’s Roadtrippin’ the Alcan, August 24, 2017,  Beyond Mile Zero

Beyond Mile Zero featured as part of NBC KTUU Anchorage’s Roadtrippin’ the Alcan, August 24, 2017

Lily Gontard et Beyond Mile Zero sur Phare Ouest, Radio-Canada, le 23 août, 2017 (in French)

Beyond Mile Zero sur “La nouvelle édition de L’Aurore Boréale avec Thibaut Rondel Phare Ouest, ICI Radio-Canada, le 17 août, 2017 (in French)

Raconter la route, et ne pas oublier….“, écrit par Olivier de Colombel, L’Aurore Boréale, le 17 août, 2017

Beyond Mile Zero featured in the Maclean’s-Duracell #Explorer150 video documentary series. Watch the video here. August 1, 2017

Beyond Mile Zero featured on eWilly’s blog, August 1, 2017

“‘Beyond Mile Zero’ highlights Alaska Highway Lodges,” by Robin Wood, Fairbanks News-Miner, June 28, 2017

Joseph Planta interviews Lily Gontard and Mark Kelly on, June 19, 2017,

Lonesome Highway: An Interview with Lily Gontard and photographer Mark Kelly,” by Nathaniel Moore, Event magazine, June 9, 2017

“Beyond Mile Zero: No 2 best selling non-fiction in Edmonton” June 7, 2017

Beyond Mile Zero: No 2 best selling non-fiction in Edmonton” May 31, 2017

Portia Clark, host of  CBC Edmonton “Radio Active” interviews Lily Gontard and Mark Kelly on May 24, 2017 (stars at 08:46)

Going Beyond Mile Zero,” by Trent Ernst, Dawson Creek Mirror, May 24, 2017

Chronicling the Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community“, by Dan Davidson, What’s Up Yukon, May 3, 2017

Stops Along the Way: The Disappearing Lodges of the Alaska Highway,” by Paul Tucker, CBC News, April 8, 2017

Beyond Mile Zero Chronicles Alaska Highway Vanishing Lodges“, by Michael Gates, Yukon News, April 7, 2017

Book Chronicles Disappearing Alaska Highway Lodges,” Airplay with Dave White, CBC Yukon, April 5, 2017

Alaska Highway roadhouses tell stories of bygone era” CBC News, Aug 22, 2015

Dave White interviews Lily Gontard and Mark Kelly about the Alaska Highway lodge community project, Airplay, CBC Yukon, August 19, 2016


Atlin Lit Up! Line Up July 8 & 9, 2017, Atlin, BC

Readings, and Writing & Photography Workshops at St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Atlin, BC

Workshop: July 8, 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.: Cramped Hand
Jessica presents her popular writing exercises with prompts. Cramped Hand is open to all, no matter your writing style. All are welcome to try writing to prompts! Paper and pencils supplied.
Facilitator: Jessica Simon Length: 45 mins Cost: Free Max group size: none (ages 15+)

Workshop: July 8, 10 a.m.: Ridiculous Rhymes and Random Rhythms (for Kids)
A poetry workshop for children led by Yukon poets Jamella Hagen and Joanna Lilley. Have fun messing about with words and find out that if you look closely, poems can be found all around you.
Facilitator: Jamella Hagen and Joanna Lilley Length: 45 mins Cost: $10 Max group size: 10 (for children 12 and under)

Workshop: July 8, 10 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.; July 9, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.: Walk-and-Talk Non-Fiction Historical Manuscript Evaluation
Author and historian Michael Gates will meet you, one-on-one, to discuss your writing project during a walk through Atlin. It can be a manuscript, or an idea for a history book, or essay.
Facilitator: Michael Gates Length: 30 minutes (four sessions available) Cost: $25 Max group size: One-on-one

Workshop: July 8, 11 a.m.: Writing the North from Inside Out in Creative Non-Fiction
Those from “outside” visit, write, and publish stories of and from the north. How do we turn our own lived experience and craft into stories from here that make it into the larger market of the “outside?” Spoiler alert: Ellen has more questions than answers, but the born and raised Alaskan/Canadian author of two books will challenge participants to write beyond genre and region.
Facilitator: Ellen Bielawski Length: 45 mins Cost: $10 Max group size: none (ages 14+)

Reading: July 8, 12 p.m. Joanna Lilley & Ellen Bielawski

Presentation: July 8, 12:30 p.m.: Level-Up Through Collaboration
In 2014, writer Lily Gontard and photographer Mark Kelly set out to document the vanishing Alaska Highway lodge community. They travelled over 8,000 kilometres, interviewed over 40 people and took over 5,000 photographs. In this presentation, Mark and Lily share how they collaborated to build on each other’s strengths to create the book Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community (Spring 2017, Lost Moose).
Length: 45 mins Cost: Free Max group size: none

Workshop: July 8, 1:30 p.m.: Playing With Words
Through exercises you will learn the basics of writing stories: creating captivating characters, scheming skilful settings, and planning plausible plots. For future authors.
Facilitator: Laura Trunkey Length: 45 mins Cost: $10 Max group size: 12 (for children aged 9-14)

Reading: July 8, 2:30 p.m. kjmunro & Jessica Simon

Workshop: July 8, 3 p.m.: How to Get Your Story Started
Description: How to find your way into a story you want to tell. You don’t need to have a story idea to take part in this workshop, just turn up with paper and a pen, or whatever you want to write on.
Facilitator: Joanna Lilley Length: 45 mins Cost: $10 Max group size: 10

Workshop: July 8, 4 p.m. and 4 p.m.: Cramped Hand
Jessica presents her popular writing exercises with prompts. Cramped Hand is open to all, no matter your writing style. All are welcome to try writing to prompts! Paper and pencils supplied.
Facilitator: Jessica Simon Length: 45 mins Cost: Free Max group size: none (ages 15+)

Panel: July 9. 10 a.m.: “Going Public” and Getting Published
Description: Panellists discuss when you know you’re ready to share your writing with the world, and preparing for a world full of rejection that comes with submitting your writing to magazines and book publishers.
Panellists: Laura Trunkey, Joanna Lilley, Jamella Hagen and Katherine Munro (kjmunro)
Length: 45 mins Cost: Free Max group size: None

Workshop: July 9, 11 a.m.: Haiku & You
A haiku workshop for adults where participants try their hand at writing a haiku, with poet kjmunro’s encouragement & instruction. The poem will then be copied onto a card or bookmark. kjmunro will offer some calligraphy options as well. All materials supplied.
Facilitator: Katherine Munro (kjmunro) Length: 45 mins Cost: $5 Max group size: none (adults)

July 9, 12:30 p.m. Michael Gates & Laura Trunkey

Workshop: July 9, 12:30 p.m.: Photographing Old Atlin
Photographer Mark Kelly will guide a photographic walking workshop through the old places in Atlin. Learn about lighting, composition permissions and ethics (the “do-not-touch” rule), and what “safety third” means to a photographer. Bring your camera!
Facilitator: Mark Kelly Length: 2 hours Cost: $30 Max group size: 15

Workshop: July 9. 1 p.m.: Writing Dialogue that Leaps Off the Page
Whether you’re writing fiction, plays or screenplays, this workshop offers useful guidelines, practical examples and writing exercises to help make your characters distinct and memorable and your scenes sizzle.
Facilitator: Patti Flather Length: 45 mins Cost: $10 Max group size: 20 (ages 14+)

Reading: July 9, 2:30 p.m. Jamella Hagen & Patti Flather

Workshop: July 9, 3 p.m.: Writing Local History
Description: Author and historian Michael Gates will cover the mechanics of research and where to look for history. He will give tips on evaluating the facts, to sorting the fact from the fiction, assembling the content into a meaningful manuscript, getting the focus of the story right, and guidance for writing a good essay, article or book, finding a publisher, and the editing process.
Facilitator: Michael Gates Length: 45 mins Cost: $25 Max group size: 15


Ellen Bielawski is a born and raised northerner. Her life’s work—to learn as much as she can about her home, the place outsiders call “the North”—has taken her to work in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Greenland, Alaska and Yukon. She won writing awards as a teenager but her small-business family insisted she do something practical so she earned her doctorate in Arctic Archaeology. She is the author of Rogue Diamonds (D&M), and In Search of Ancient Alaska (Alaska Northwest Books)

Jamella Hagen’s first collection of poetry, Kerosene, was published in 2011 by Nightwood Editions. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and her work has appeared in North American journals and anthologies, including Ice Floe, This Magazine, and The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2010. She currently lives in Whitehorse and teaches Creative Writing at Yukon College.

Jessica Simon has called the Yukon home for thirty years, and has worked as a journalist and editor, co-ordinator of the Whitehorse’sWomen’s Centre, typesetter, bookbinder, first-aid instructor, and before she exchanged her paddle for a pen, she was a wilderness guide. She is the author of the Markus Fanger adventure crime series.

Joanna Lilley’s poetry collection, If There Were Roads, was published by Turnstone Press in spring 2017. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Fleece Era (Brick Books), nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry, and the short story collection The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). She is a co-founder of the Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink.

kjmunro is originally from Vancouver, BC, but now lives in Whitehorse. She founded ‘solstice haiku’, a monthly haiku discussion group, in 2014, & she has a leaflet with Leaf Press. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada and an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets.

Laura Trunkey’s short fiction collection Double Dutch (House of Anansi, 2016) was an American Bookseller’s Association Indies Introduce choice. Previous stories have appeared in journals and magazines across Canada and in the anthology Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow (D&M). She is also the author of the children’s novel, The Incredibly Ordinary Danny Chandelier (Annick). She lives in Victoria where she is the Artistic Associate of the Victoria Festival of Authors.

Lily Gontard is a writer living in Whitehorse. Her fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in magazines such as Pushing Out the Boat and Geist. She is the author of Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community (Lost Moose / Harbour Publishing) and a member of the Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink. and @lilyofthenorth.

Mark Kelly makes his home in Whitehorse. He splits his time between his counselling practice where he uses photography in the therapeutic process and his personal/professional photographic pursuits. Mark is the photographer of Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community (Lost Moose / Harbour Publishing).

Michael Gates is the former curator of collections for Parks Canada in Dawson City. He pens the popular weekly History Huntercolumn in the Yukon News and has written hundreds of articles. He has published four books on Yukon history, the most recent From the Klondike to Berlin (Harbour Publishing)

Patti Flather’s play Paradise was published in 2017 (Playwrights Canada Press). Her plays Sixty Below and West Edmonton Mall have been produced nationally and published in anthologies. Her fiction has appeared in many journals. Her screenplay Kiss That Alaska Highway was a winner at Moondance Film Festival and Female Eye Festival. Patti is Artistic Director of Gwaandak Theatre in Whitehorse, a company she co-founded, which develops, produces and tours plays showcasing Indigenous and northern voices.Their latest creation, Map of the Land, Map of the Stars, premiered this May and tours Canada next season.

Many thanks to Angela Drainville, Producer and Artistic Director of the Atlin Arts & Music Festival for including Atlin Lit Up.

ALU Co-ordinator, Lily Gontard


Upcoming Readings

Prairie morning

Date: 7 p.m. Monday, June 19, 2017, at Baked Cafe, Main Street, Whitehorse, Yukon
Details: I’ll be reading poetry in support of visiting poet Chrys Salt

Date: 12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Saturday, July 8, 2017, at Atlin Lit Up literary festival (part of the Atlin Arts and Music Festival)
Details: “Level Up With Collabortaion” a presentation with photographer Mark Kelly

Heading to Nevada

Great news! I’ve received funding from Access Copyright through the Marian Hebb Research Grant to support further research for the biography of Helen Foster, American geologist and unstoppable nonagenarian. I’ve been conducting interviews with Helen for the last few months via Skype and thanks to this funding, I’ll be able to travel to Nevada to interview her. It will be wonderful to meet Helen in person and go over her personal archive. This is a fantastic opportunity.

Beyond Mile Zero: Book Tour Dates

Here we go! The spring tour in support of Beyond Mile Zero. Yes, one more roadtrip: the question is, will we still be speaking to each other at the end of it…. Stay tuned to find out.

Dates confirmed so far include:

Date: Saturday, May 20, 2017, 11:30 a.m.
Location: Watson Lake – Sign Post Forest Visitor’s Centre, Watson Lake, Yukon

Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 7 p.m.
Location: Audrey’s Books 10702 Jasper Ave., Edmonton, Alberta

Date: Thursday, May 25, 2017, 7 p.m.
Location: Dawson Creek Public Library, 1001 McKellar Ave, Dawson Creek, BC

Date: Friday, May 26, 2017, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: Coles bookstore, Fort St. John, BC

Date: Friday, May 26, 2017, 7 p.m.
Location: Fort Nelson Public Library, 5315 50 Ave S, Fort Nelson, BC

Date: Saturday, May 28, 2017, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Johnson’ Crossing, Mile 836.5 Alaska Highway, Yukon

Date: Friday, June 23 2017, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location: Coles bookstore, Whitehorse, Yukon

Date: Sunday, June 25 2017, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: Acacia Vintage, 118 Quill Crescent, Haines Junction, Yukon

Date: Monday, June 26, 2017, Time TBD.
Location: Discovery Yukon Lodgings, Mile 1169 Alaska Highway, Yukon

Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Time 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
Location: Yukon Visitor Information Centre, Beaver Creek, Yukon


Date: Thursday, June 29, 2017, 6 p.m.
Location: Barnes & Noble, 421 Mehar Avenue, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 1 p.m.
Location: Skagway News Depot and Books, Skagway, Alaska




Book Launch for Beyond Mile Zero

It’s official! Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community will be launched at Baked Cafe on Main Street in Whitehorse, Yukon, on Friday, April 7, 2017.

The fun starts at 7 p.m. with featured readers Ellen Davignon, author of The Cinnamon Mine: An Alaska Highway Childhood, and chronicler of northern living Murray Lundberg, followed by a presentation by Mark Kelly and I about our journey to uncover the vanishing Alaska Highway lodge community.

Many thanks to Baked Cafe & Bakery for providing this wonderful venue,  Mac’s Fireweed Books for being on hand to sell books, and of course our publisher Harbour Publishing.

Words and Whatnot at the Atlin Arts and Music Festival, Saturday, July 9, 2016, in Atlin, B.C.

On Saturday, July 9, 2016, at 12 noon at St. Marten’s Church, Yvonne Blomer, Poet Laureate of Victoria, B.C., and Yukon poet Jamella Hagen will read from their works of poetry and share in a conversation with host Lily Gontard. This event is being recorded for a podcast.
Yvonne Blomer, Poet Laureate for Victoria, B.C.
Yvonne Blomer, Poet Laureate for Victoria, B.C.

Yvonne Blomer is Victoria, B.C.’s Poet Laureate. Her most recent collection of poems is As if a Raven (Palimpsest Press, 2014). Her previous books include The Book of Places (Black Moss Press, 2012) and a broken mirror, fallen leaf (Ekstasis Editions, 2006) which was short listed for the Gerald LampertMemorial Award. Her travel memoir Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press in the spring of 2017. From 2009-2015 Yvonne was the Artistic Director of the Planet Earth Poetry reading series from which she co- edited the anthology Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press).

Jamella Hagen
Yukon poet Jamella Hagen

Jamella Hagen grew up in Hazelton, BC and has lived in Vancouver, Brazil and South Korea. Her poems have appeared in journals across Canada including Arc, Event and The Malahat Review as well as in the anthologies Unfurled: Collected Poetry from Northern BC Women, Ice Floe: New and Selected Poems and The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2010. Her work has won The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, placed third in This Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt and been shortlisted for a CBC Literary Award. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UBC, is a former executive editor of PRISM international and has coordinated the Whitehorse Poetry Festival. She currently lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, and is an instructor at Yukon College.