Gary Wright is unrepentant. Lovers of books, politics, and subversity can find out why at a reading from Wright’s rollicking 2012 biography Unrepentant on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Nelson Public Library.
Wright is known locally as the former long-time mayor of New Denver. If that is remarkable in itself, so is Wright’s story. An American college student in the 1960s, Wright became involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement, becoming active with Students for a Democratic Society. The U.S. State Department revoked his passport and put him on the FBI’s watch list. Wright began planning a move to Canada.
Unrepentant begins with those heady protest years and follows Wright through his decades playing music and all that went with a free-spirit lifestyle: sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all of which eventually led him to politics. His entrance in civic politics began when, working as New Denver’s janitor, he was encouraged to run for a seat on council. It was a short step to become New Denver’s straight-spoken mayor, a post he held for 22 years.
“Life is weird,” says Wright. “One year in one country I am wanted by the FBI; another year in another country I receive a medal for public service, and get a letter of commendation from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Same man, same beliefs. Go figure.”
Unrepentant is a word Wright applies both to his community and to himself. Unrepentant, the book, is full of anecdotes about new-age gurus, roadhouse musicians and regional political figures such as RDCK Chair John Kettle and former provincial cabinet minister Corky Evans. Evans contributed a chapter about his own experiences in the anti-war movement.
Wright will read from his book and answer questions at what the Library expects to be a packed event.