<span>What Others Have to Say About....</span> The Book

What Others Have to Say About.... The Book

About the Award Winning book by Mark Leiren-Young

Winner of the 2009 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour

About the Book

The night Mark Leiren-Young drove into Williams Lake, British Columbia, in 1985 to work as a reporter for the venerable Williams Lake Tribune, he arrived on the scene of an armed robbery. And that was before things got weird. For a 22-year-old from Vancouver, a stint in the legendary Cariboo town was a trip to another world and another era. From the explosive opening, where Mark finds himself in a courtroom just a few feet away from a defendant with a bomb strapped to his chest, to the case of a plane that crashed without its pilot on board, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen is an unforgettable comic memoir of a city boy learning about—and learning to love—life in a cowboy town.

“The cops wanted to shoot me, my bosses thought I was a Bolshevik, and a local lawyer warned me that some people I was writing about might try to test the strength of my skull with a steel pipe. What more could any young reporter hope for from his first real job?”

Never Shoot a Stampede Queen is a terrific debut: funny, moving and profound. You will laugh out loud. —Will Ferguson, author

Mark Leiren-Young has earned an enviable reputation as Canadian comic and storyteller, but here he expands his literary horizon. His portrait of small-town BC is a mixture of Leacock (the wry humour and evocative literary style) and Freud (psychoanalyzing the rural psyches of his cast of kooky characters). It’s a must-read, and fun too. —Peter C. Newman, author

Never Shoot a Stampede Queen isn’t just sound advice, it’s also the most fun I’ve had this year. God does not subtract from one’s allotted span the hours spent reading books as wise, warm and witty as this City Mouse’s comic memoir of his years in the Country . . . of another planet. Indeed, the residents of remote Williams Lake, in the heart of the Cariboo, satisfy science fiction editor John W. Campbell’s classic definition of alien creatures: they think as well as a human being, but not like one. Mark Leiren-Young is a natural storyteller, a peer of writers like Stephen Leacock, W. O. Mitchell, Jack Douglas and W. P. Kinsella: quietly hilarious, effortlessly moving, and always surprising. Like them, he makes it look easy. —Spider Robinson, co-author (with Robert A. Heinlein) of Variable Star

Loved it! I’m going to make sure my old journalism pals read it—it has universal themes/struggles of hilarity/triumphs/awesome defeats common to our practice and was downright poignant at times. This reminded me how small towns are unique in their level of eccentricity. I salute you, sir. —Zachary Petit, Managing Editor, Writer’s Digest

Always engaging and often hilarious . . . Stampede Queen is an absolute charmer in the Stuart McLean/Will Ferguson vein. —John Threlfall, Monday Magazine

Williams Lake comes across as the Wild West mixed with Capone-era Chicago with a soupçon of Jim Crow Deep South segregation and an unsavory dash of perversion. And that’s just in the first chapter. —Tom Hawthorn, The Globe and Mail

For a cub reporter from Vancouver, working deep in British Columbia’s cowboy country was like a mission to Mars . . . In his first book, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo, a young Leiren-Young recounts wild times in one of B.C.’s wildest towns, Williams Lake. The result is a hilarious ride through a western town, complete with gun fights, bar fights, plane crashes and, of course, mad bombers, all as seen through the fresh eyes of a newbie reporter for the Williams Lake Tribune —Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun

For the record, I worked at the Williams Lake Tribune after Mark Leiren-Young did. I’m not the wacko editor or overly-protective senior reporter he talks about in his new book Never Shoot a Stampede Queen: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo. (I was the wacko editor who worked there after Leiren-Young left.) However, I do know all the people Leiren-Young talks about in his book. That’s probably why I liked his book so much. I could put faces to the bevy of characters he describes. So, take it from me, he does describe them very well. If you want an accurate description of how life was (or is) like at a small-town newspaper, read his book. It is laced with humour, truth, and unbelievable people . . . I can vouch for the fact that he did not make up the characters in his book. They are real and they’re worth reading about. You’ll shake your head, your jaw will drop, and you’ll laugh. —Bill Phillips, Prince George Free Press

Never Shoot a Stampede Queen could serve as the one-book answer to everything would-be journos ever ask—or need to know—about what it’s like to be a real reporter. (Short answer: hilarious when it’s not astounding, frustrating, or terrifying.) Not that Mark Leiren-Young, a journalist turned comedian, playwright, TV-scriptwriter, and author, intended the “memoir” of his first reporting gig in a community daily to turn into a textbook. It’s much too funny a page-turner to be ignored on required-reading lists.—Shannon Rupp, J-Source

I received your book, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, a week ago for my birthday. I am from Williams Lake, BC, and have lived here for the majority of my life. I am also the 2008/2009 Williams Lake Stampede Queen. I absolutely LOVE your book. Everytime I read it I burst out laughing. The part with the photos of the queen contestants and how important they are to the girls was so accurate. When I got my pictures done everything had to be just perfect. When people asked me why I wanted to run for Williams Lake Stampede Queen I can’t count the number of times I responded with a predictable “I’ve always wanted to be a Stampede Queen.” I just want to say that I think your book is great and it was a perfect birthday present :) —Britnie McKnight, 2008–2009 Williams Lake Stampede Queen