The self-proclaimed “media maverick” is at it again. Boyce Richardson launched his latest novel, Memoirs of a Media Maverick, at the Double Hook Book Shop in Montreal on March 30.
In front of an audience of 25 people, Richardson spoke about his book and made a few of them laugh in the process with his easy-going attitude. He later confided to the Nation that jokes are not his forte. “I like to make jokes, but I can never make them properly if I haven’t written them down. Winston Churchill would rehearse his great speeches for weeks before he delivered them. I figured if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me,” he laughed.
Richardson says he’s had good reviews from many people about his book, but that the mainstream media has all but ignored it. This is no surprise, he says, because in this, his seventh book, he attacks the mainstream media and pulls no punches.
Richardson has produced many documentaries along with writing numerous articles for the Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Star. His most famous documentary was Job’s Garden. It focused on a few men in Fort George and gives a peek into the lives of the people of the north. The most notable character in the documentary was its namesake, Job Bearskin. The film proved very popular and is still being talked about today in Eeyou Istchee.
Richardson’s proudest achievement has been getting the Cree to fully trust and respect his work. Without trust and respect, he said, you have nothing.
When asked if this is his last book, Richardson chuckled, “I would think it probably is. I’m 76. I don’t have anything else in mind.”
Memoirs of a Media Marverick by Boyce Richardson
Between the Lines 2003
by Will Nicholls
At 75 Boyce is still writing. His latest book isn’t Strangers Devour the Land, James Bay, the Plot to Drown the North Woods or People of Terra Nullius: Betrayal and Rebirth in Aboriginal Canada. It’s his autobiography and what a trip it is. I wrote for his 75th birthday that, “His experiences go far beyond just journalism and how to apply that field of study. He brings a sharp insight with a heart to it. His articles and work among the Cree have made him a friend to one and all.”
What this book does is give you a glimpse into the making of the man that Boyce would become and of the travels that led him to Canada before he even knew who the Crees were. It showed a man who lived by his principles and wasn’t afraid to take a chance either in his chosen profession and his life. It showed how his wife would be more than the “barefoot and pregnant” stereotype of the era. She would support him in all the ways a loving partner would and his love for her comes through in this book. You get an idea of a loving family life.
The media maverick label though is totally real and in many an editor’s face. You can feel a chuckle as Boyce relates his experiences in the trenches of news writing. You can feel his outrage as a story or editorial he considers important is ignored for something else. It is a clear and concise look at the journalistic practices of the time and brings you to the insights on why the present styles of backroom journalism exist today. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to one and all. It is a source of inspiration nearly as strong as the man who wrote is. As for more on Boyce, buy the book, buy it now. There’s something in there for everyone. Natives will get a look into how Boyce brought their concerns into the mainstream in the ways they wanted to portray themselves. Non-Natives will see a rare glimpse into the fifth estate and how it works through someone with no axes to grind. I enjoyed it thoroughly.