Norm Gibbons

Norm GibbonsNorm Gibbons was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1943. He attended the Universities of British Columbia and Victoria, where he took degrees in English literature, social work and creative writing. His varied life experiences include extensive travel, lecturing in social work and crisis intervention, commercial business ventures such as marina development, housing cooperatives, aquaculture innovation and a plant nursery. Presently he lives in the Desolation Sound area on Cortes Island with family.

Forthcoming from Salmonberry Arts and Publishing is his fictional trilogy, Edge of Desolation, covering an one hundred year period beginning in 1919 on Cortes Island. Volume One, Voyage of the Arrogant explores the lasting effects of hubris. Volume Two, Sea Without Shores, a story of love and tragedy, focuses on the small community of Refuge Cove during 1974 on West Redonda Island.

Sea Without Shores: Book Two

You are invited to read Chapter Two: Chair in the Sky here.

 Softcover available at  and

Kindle Version here

You are invited to read Subterfuge, Chapter One: here.

Sea Without Shores (March 2016) focuses on the small community of Refuge Cove during 1974 on West Redonda Island. A reclusive narrator, Adam, brings a mystery to light with the aid of Duende, a belligerent, but cerebral dog. Captain George Vancouver, First Nation history and myth, the discovery of a lost manuscript and a rewrite of the New Testament give context to the notion that knowledge – known by community members at an obscure level of consciousness – cannot escape revelation.

“Norm Gibbons has done it again in the second installment of his Edge of Desolation trilogy. Wonderfully atmospheric, SEA WITHOUT SHORES plumbs the depths of the relationships between man and animal, past and present, land and sea, and, perhaps most strikingly, reader and writer. This is great storytelling by a gifted storyteller, innovative, imaginative and profound.”

Ruth OzekiA Tale for the Time Being.

“Characters appear as genuine originals, independent souls, born from the forces of the region, caught in the contradictions and challenges of life and survival. The recluse, the witch, fishermen, old lovers, wide-eyed children, a man who believes he can fly, and a talking dog, all converge in this extraordinary novel.”

Rex WeylerGreenpeace and Blood of the Land

Sea without Shores is a plunge into a world of magical realism where certainties become illusive, where improbable characters become both credible and loveable through the skillful writing, quiet humor and stellar imagination of Norm Gibbons. The promise of The Voyage of the Arrogant is now brilliantly realized in his second riveting book, and promises to alter your dreamscape and the landscape of your heart.”Priya Huffmanof Bone and Breath and The Territory of Home

In praise of the Edge of Desolation trilogy “The book’s main rewards are in Gibbons’s observational mastery and his way of conveying a narrative tone approximating the private conversation.” – The Vancouver Sun

Voyage of the Arrogant: Book One

On Cortes Island available at Marne’s Books, Squirrel Cove Store, Cortes Island Craft Shop, Cortes Museum and Hollyhock Store. On West Redonda Island available at Refuge Cove General Store. And online at Friesen Press  or Kindle edition here.

Norm’s first review.  You are invited to read Chapter One, 1919: here.

Praise for Voyage of the Arrogant

“In this vast and astonishing debut novel, Norm Gibbons tells a sweeping tale of adventure and chicanery. Mythic in scale, Voyage of the Arrogant pays meticulous attention to the poetry of time and place, taking us from the brooding seascapes of Canada’s Desolation Sound to the high peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro, from the turn of the last century into the future. The cast of characters is memorable. Outlaws and murderers, fishermen poets and pederast priests, oyster farmers and sea captains, widowed wives and fatherless sons bring the legends of the Pacific Northwest brilliantly to life. I read this book with enormous pleasure, heightened only by the knowledge that it is the first of a trilogy.”

Ruth Ozeki, Man Booker 2013 finalist, A Tale for the Time Being

“Voyage of the Arrogant is a marvelous saga, a deeply imagined charting of lives affected, across generations, by a singular act of violence. Its language starkly beautiful, its themes unflinching and human, where myth and truth walk hand in hand, here is a story that fascinates and delights even while it challenges and disturbs. Norm Gibbons has also painted a superb portrait of one of the prettiest, and toughest, places on the planet.”

Bill Gaston, author of The World and Sointula

“Extraordinary and original storytelling, shocking history, deep personal experience, vivid characters, and a stunning portrayal of life on Canada’s west coast. Voyage of the Arrogant is a groundbreaking novel, written the way memory works, or sometimes fails to work.”

Rex Weyler, author of Greenpeace and Blood of the Land

“Gibbons offers an extraordinary meditation on grief and mortality…an amazing voyage from childhood innocence to the catastrophic consequences of unrelenting hubris. His work deserves serious attention.”

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and Spontaneous Happiness



12 Responses to “Norm Gibbons”

  1. Norm Gibbons March 3, 2017 at 10:50 am Permalink

    Thanks for your lovely comment. Please, if ever you are on Cortes again, make sure you contact me. Voyage of the Arrogant is the first novel in the trilogy. You probably would enjoy that story as well.

  2. Aude March 3, 2017 at 10:39 am Permalink

    Hi! I bought Sea without Shores last summer as I was woofing on Cortes (and thanks to Marnie’s advice!) and really loved it. I was looking for a book by a local author and Marnie asked me what kinds of books I liked to read. When I told her that my favourite author was Virginia Woolf, she said, pointing at your novel: “This is the book you want”. And indeed, I loved it. I loved the way the writing (so precise, exquisite, poetic) took us into the everyday lives and inner realities of the people of the Refuge. I really enjoyed being immersed in this community feeling I had started to get a glimpse of on Cortes. I was particularly moved at how the community gets together to rebuilt the interior of their neighbours’ house after the bear’s rampage. And by the pagan bonfire ceremony once they had got rid of the bear. It wasn’t a Christian ceremony nor a mock-native new age one. It seems that they have found their own way, their own traditions.
    So congratulations, Norm, on this wonderful book. It reminded me of Woolf and Faulkner, but also you found a truly unique voice.
    I’d like to read more of what you have written and I’m sorry to have missed out on your reading last summer at the Coop Café (I didn’t know your work at the time). Next time I’m on Cortes (hopefully soon! I live in France, so it could take me a while!), I’d love to hear you speak about your writing.

  3. Stephen Gale September 4, 2015 at 5:19 pm Permalink

    Norm, it was nice running into Lisa the other day at Squirrel Cove and then having the opportunity to get you go sign my copy of your book. I finished reading the Voyage of the Arrogant sitting in our cabin at Tiber Bay. Being on Cortes Island especially so close to many of the settings in your book made the reading of your story almost a surreal experience. A very interesting and very creative story and I am anxiously anticipating the next book in your trilogy. You have a very far reaching imagination and you book was full of surprises and new adventures. My Mom just ordered a copy of your book and I am sure other family members will too. Thank you for rekindling my memories of my summers spent in Refuge Cove when I was a teenager. Stephen Gale

  4. grietje laga August 8, 2015 at 6:26 pm Permalink

    hello norm, lisa gave me a copy of your book, while we were camping in her yard a week or so ago. started reading on the plane back to new mexico, yesterday, and am completely engaged in the lives and tales of the many characters, by your stunning and very different storytelling style, and by the descriptions of a land and sea that are quite special to me.
    the book is so rich and deep, mysterious and delightful, raw and beautiful, all at the same time. what splendid work, norm! with immense gratitude, griet-

  5. Tom Goelz July 21, 2015 at 11:59 am Permalink

    Wow. Heard you, and others, read from The Arrogant, last summer. I bought a copy and saved it for this summer’s return to the island. And so, now, just finished, I am moved to express some of the roiling response, thoughts, feelings that have consumed me while reading. I was fairly enthralled by all of it. Loved the small, yet large, renderings of slices of the story, and loved, as well, the blank spaces in between. Those spaces allowed me to wander and wonder on my own and accept what I would never know. A rare treat in a book. Much more to say but I will hold that for a face to face when I next see you and Denise. In the mean time I am aglow and grateful and very much looking forward to more of the story as the second book emerges.

  6. Ken Pauli April 5, 2015 at 9:22 pm Permalink

    Hi Norm
    A voice from your distant past. It was so nice to see all the wonderful and wondrous things that you have done with your life. Please say hello to Denise. I have often thought of you over the years with fondness and great memories of our time together.

  7. Robert Gunn September 8, 2014 at 4:53 pm Permalink

    Hi Norm
    Am plotting how to get my hands on a copy – the blurbs worked – quite apart from the author of course. We are in the process of dev a Tideline based mag here – so will feature your work asap. Best personal regards, Robert

  8. Norm Gibbons June 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm Permalink

    Yes, there are many “dialects” in the narrative. This is where “voice” and “point of view” blend together. I guess I’m a bit of a chameleon in that regard. The phenomenon isn’t necessarily intentional; the words insist on coming out that way and I have to submit to their authority.

  9. Christian Gronau June 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm Permalink

    Halfway through reading your book (as opposed to manuscript) and enjoying it immensely. Seems to me you did quite a bit of rearranging of old words and inserting of new ones.
    Funny, how it’s all just words, most of them familiar – yet the pattern they create on the page makes or breaks the story. (Not a very profound observation of a, nonetheless, very profound fact.)
    Great how the different chapters find their own appropriate dialect : after all, it’s a big book (if not an excessively long one) and just one language wouldn’t be quite enough …
    Ah, but there are two more volumes to follow ! You may have to go well beyond linguistics and become a philologist – but then : you already are.

  10. elinore June 23, 2014 at 9:02 am Permalink

    Finally got my copy and have started into it, Norm!
    It’s extraordinary!
    Wonderful writing!

  11. bruce harris June 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm Permalink

    looking forward to reading this impressive sounding first novel..

  12. Paul Kirmmse May 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm Permalink

    I want a copy!

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