Local historian Irene Martin launches her newest book at January WordFest

Irene Martin, author of several books on Columbia River history, will be launching her newest book this Tuesday at WordFest.

The Flight of Bumble Bee, One Hundred Years of the Columbia River Packers Association and the Pursuit of Fish tells the story of what became the largest salmon packer in the world. The book covers developments in 19th century salmon canning technology, the expansion into Alaska in the 20th century, and the beginnings of the west coast tuna industry. Numerous historic photographs, engravings and salmon labels illustrate the volume. Started by Roger Tetlow and completed by Irene after his death, the book presents the history of a corporation that has been in business over a hundred years and became a national icon in brand names. Copies will be available for sale and autographing.

Irene has been a writer for nearly forty years, specializing in Northwest regional history, particularly that of fishing and the Columbia River. Among her publications are Legacy and Testament, the Story of Columbia River Gillnetters, The Beach of Heaven, a history of Wahkiakum County, and Sea Fire, Tales of Jesus and Fishing. She lives in Skamokawa, Washington, with her husband who is a commercial fisherman in Alaska and on the Columbia River. She is also an Episcopal priest at St. James Church in Cathlamet.
Following Irene, Kelley Jacquez will be reading from her collection of short stories, Holding Woman and Other Stories of Acceptable Madness. The book is being published by Bilingual Press, Tempe, Arizona, due out in May.

WordFest is a gathering of readers and writers who meet on the first Tuesday of each month at The Brits, 1427 Commerce Avenue in Longview.

The event is free and open to the public. Following the presentations, there is an open mic period.

Doors open at The Brits at 5:30, with the readings starting at 6:00 pm.