Submitted to the Nelson Star
Join Amanda Bath, author of Disaster in Paradise: The Landslides in Johnson’s Landing for the opening of an exhibition featuring photos from her book at ENSO Hair Design (336 Baker St., Nelson) tonight at 6:30 p.m. The exhibition runs until Sept. 8.
The photos displayed show Johnsons Landing before and after the tragic landslides that changed the community irrevocably. In addition to photos from Disaster in Paradise, the exhibition also features new photos from a wide variety of contributors, including local photographer Louis Bockner, whose work is featured on the cover of Bath’s book.
Disaster in Paradise is the first book about the 2012 Johnsons Landing landslides — two natural disasters that devastated the picturesque Kootenay Lake community.
Author Amanda Bath’s house was flattened by the first slide only an hour after she left the area, and when she returned less than 24 hours later to try to rescue her cat, she had less than a minute of warning before a second landslide completely buried what remained of her home.
Amanda’s escape from the second landslide was caught on video by a news crew who left the same beach minutes earlier and the footage went viral on YouTube.
The process of writing Disaster in Paradise was like therapy for Bath, carrying her through the painful months that followed.
Disaster in Paradise is the story of Bath’s trauma and healing, but it is also the story of a community as it joined together to mourn and gradually rebuild in the wake of tragedy.
In total, the landslides destroyed six homes and killed four people: Valentine Webber, 60, his daughters, Diana, 22, and Rachel, 17, as well as Petra Frehse, 64.
The book is both a chronicle of a BC tragedy and a warning for the future. With the increasing effects of climate change, disasters like this could easily happen again, and governments need to be prepared; British Columbians need to know the signs.
Bath was born and raised in England, and lived in London before moving to Johnsons Landing in 1993. She holds a PhD in Catalan literature and worked in human rights research for Amnesty International for a decade.
Because her home in Johnsons Landing was destroyed by the 2012 landslides, she now lives in Kaslo, with her husband Christopher Klassen.