BC author Ron Smith

Ron Smith is the BC author of four collections of poetry, a book of short stories, a play, a kid’s book and many more. His poetry has been translated and published in Italy.


On May 11, 2020,  Improbable Journeys: From Crossing the Himalayas on Horseback to a Career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which I co-authored with Dr. Bernie Binns, was released by Rock’s Mills Press of Oakville, Ontario. Part medical memoir, part travelogue, our book looks at the career of a man who was born in the Falkland Islands and spent his first 12 years in India and Chinese Turkestan; who was educated in Britain, at the University of London and Oxford; who practiced his career in Uganda as Idi Amin came to power; who fought for the rights of women to choose; taught at the University of Manitoba in infectious diseases; worked with the Inuit in the north, in their home place; and eventually retired to Vancouver Island. Dr. Binns, who now spends half his year in New Zealand, answers the question of what he believes makes a good healer, especially in these times when the patient often seems secondary in the medical experience.

The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke is a first-person account of a massive ischemic stroke to the brain stem. Smith takes the reader inside the experience and shows how recuperation happens.

Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James Story is a moving sports biography of the amazing athlete Gerry James. Elf the Eagle is his first book for children. Ron taught English and Creative Writing at Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina University-College) for 28 years, is the founder of Oolichan Books, and has edited and published over 300 books. He holds degrees from UBC and the University of Leeds, and was recently the first Fulbright Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. He lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada with his wife, Pat, who is also a writer.

A selection of Ron’s Books:

Improbable Journeys: From Crossing the Himalayas on Horseback to A Career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Rock’s Mills Press, 2020)
The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke (Ronsdale, 2016).
Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James Story
(Oolichan, 2011).
Elf the Eagle (Oolichan, 2007). Illustrated by Ruth Campbell.
Arabesque e altre poesie (Schifanoia Editore, Italy, 2002)
What Men Know About Women (Oolichan, 1999)
The Last Time We Talked (Reference West, 1996)
Enchantment & Other Demons (Oolichan, 1995)
A Buddha Named Baudelaire (Sono Nis, 1988)
Collected Poems of Ralph Gustafson, Vol 1 & 2, editor (Sono Nis, 1982)
Seasonal (Sono Nis, 1984)
Rainshadow: Stories from Vancouver Island (Oolichan/Sono Nis, 1982)


Ron Smith is a BC writer of poetry, children’s books, fiction, non fiction and drama. Author of NHL and CFL biography Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James Story and the children’s book Elf the Eagle, he lives near Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

8 thoughts on “Books”

  1. Hello Mr. Smith: Just finished reading “Kid Dynamite”, the Gerry James story. Never knew about it until a friend loaned it to me a couple of weeks ago. What a great masterpiece and wonderful tribute to Gerry. I sort of lost track of him during the past 40 years, but have many exciting memories of his performances and accomplishments with the Blue Bombers and with the Toronto Maple Leafs, my favourite hockey team back then. I, like most Manitobans, never thought Gerry got the recognition he deserved as he was indeed one of the greatest, if not the greatest athlete from our province. Your book has certainly rectified this injustice to some considerable extent. Gerry and Marg were friends of my Aunt Grayce Riley, so I also had the pleasure of Gerry’s company on a few occasions in the late fifties to early sixties. In particular, he might recall when the RCMP musical ride was in Winnipeg in 1962, he had all the breweries bring beer to our room at the Viscount Gort and we had more than enough for the entire week for the 36 members of our ride. Yes, Gerry was always a lot of fun to be with – quick witted and never a dull moment. I hope he and Marg are well as we will be at Pacific Shores the first two weeks in March and would like to contact them if possible. Thank you Ron for your exceptional efforts in providing this very accurate and interesting biography of this great athlete and fine gentleman.

  2. Dear Mr Smith,
    I am the chair of The Brock House Society program committee. We at Brock House (located at Jericho Beach)are mot interested to have you speak about your book “the Defiant Mind” at our free to members Esther Birney Series on Thursday, Dec 15th. From 10:30 -11:30 am and a 15 min Q&A . You will have a most appreciative audience of about 30 or 40, and are most welcome to sell your book. We invite you to lunch with us and continue the conversation afterwards. I sincerely hope you will have the time to come to Vancouver to give your talk on a very timely topic.
    We know you live in Nanoose Bay. We would cover the ferry costs. Thank you for considering this invitation. If you have any questions or concerns my email is
    Glenys Acland 604 684 0814

    1. Dear Glenys Acland,
      Thank you for your generous invitation. I would be delighted to attend your meeting on Dec. 15, from 10:30 to 11:30, followed by a Q&A and lunch. I have one request. My wife will need to accompany me; I’m still slightly handicapped from my stroke and still need her assistance at times. Besides, she presents another view on the consequences of a stroke. Caregivers are a critical part of recovery.

      With best wishes,

  3. Dear Ron. I have just finished reading your book Defiant Mind.
    I have enjoyed it emmensely ,I hav discovered in my life that if I tell my body I love it as it is it does respond. I do not sleep for long hours since my bowel surgery the bowels always wake me upevery 2 or three hours ,so last night iasked them for 4 hours sleep and I recieved it . so the body is always listening.! I also suggest you take vit.B complex 50mgms and Chaga which is a derivitive of a mushroom which is a very high antioccadent. I am sure you have helped many people through writing this book. Yours in love Lili Soleil

    1. Thanks for your kind and generous comments, Lili. I certainly agree with you that we can instruct our bodies to help us. Good luck with your sleeping.

  4. Dear Ron
    One month into my brother’s survival of a catastrophic stroke that wiped out his right brain at age 44, I just finished reading your book today. In a labyrinth of misinformation, and at times despair, your words have been the reassuring thread I’ve followed. When nurses are mean and procedures are dehumanizing and terrifying, your words and your humanity are there providing untold comfort. Your insights about giving yourself over to the various procedures was particularly helpful – until I read that I cringed for every imagined “attack” I knew my brother had to bear. Likewise your unfortunate room-mate – the kind of character a fictional editor would demand as a hurdle for the hero, no? But how illuminating to think that the cranky juice fiend played his own role in you finding your way back.

    I want to give every single health professional I meet this book. I’ve also read Stroke of Insight and have a stack on Neuroplasticity to follow up on next, but The Defiant Mind is head (both lobes) and shoulders above.
    As a writer, I’m in awe of what you’ve accomplished with this book. How can something so useful be lyrical!? It’s also an incredible inspiration – any one suffering a mild case of writer’s block should pick up a chapter and think – didn’t have to surmount that to set words to page!

    Again, thanks. And best wishes that tiny improvements ever continue. Bravo.

    1. Dear Emily, I’m sorry to hear about your brother’s stroke but I think the love and defiance you show in your note will help him with recovery. For me, it was the support I received from my family and caregivers that finally pulled me through. In the end, as you say, even the obnoxious roommate in a way helped me. He was dealing with such a horrible condition himself. Positive reinforcement is so important to a stroke survivor’s recovery, from everyone, even, as in my case, from the cleaning staff. And the therapists need to work on brain as well as physical therapy. They need to listen to the patient and tailor therapy accordingly. The best do this automatically, I think; most are pretty good and generous. Please tell your brother to expect recovery. He must think it’s possible. And realize that it will be slow going. I send him and you positive thoughts. I’m pleased to hear my book helped a little. Thanks for your kind words. Ron

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