The book's official Canadian publication date was September 26, and to celebrate I had a small launch party last Friday. The venue had limited capacity, so I invited just a few of everyone important to me: a few colleagues from the refugee clinic, a few patients, a few parish members, friends, family, physician mentors, Pete's colleagues. There will be a public launch at Banyen Books on November 30, and an event in Langley this fall (details soon).
Many thanks to Brooke of Brooka Photographic for capturing these images (and my headshots!):
My agent, Robert Mackwood, started with a few words. I had many people to thank: Robert, my publisher (Brindle & Glass), editor (Lynne van Luven), Pete and the kids, colleagues and patients. I did a short reading and opened it up to questions. The back and forth that followed was my favourite part of the evening. Great questions, and kind comments. It is quite something to look out and see your high school chemistry teacher next to the Arabic interpreter from the refugee clinic, your rector next to the surgeon/poet/painter who served as Associate Dean of Student Affairs when you were a medical student, and your sister next to a former patient.
I gave a shoutout to the interpreters I worked with at the clinic. Doctors and nurses get their share of praise but interpreters deserve more recognition. In that clinic, they heard everything I did, and more.
When a physician writes about her work at a clinic, should patients be invited to the book launch? I write in Chapter 29 about the challenges of determining where the doctor-patient boundary lies, when a patient invites me to his wife's birthday party. It's not always clear. I asked the opinion of two colleagues, and invited a handful of patients whose consent I had sought to include specific stories in the book. I was so pleased that they came.
It was a great night. I felt loved and supported. It was a rare moment when I felt that the work I'd done - the decade at the refugee clinic and the book - was exactly what I was meant to do. Thanks to all who came out.