Patricia Smuga is the founder and editor of Freya, a new magazine featuring non-fiction work by women writers in the Kootenays. Photo: Tyler Harper

Patricia Smuga is the founder and editor of Freya, a new magazine featuring non-fiction work by women writers in the Kootenays. Photo: Tyler Harper

New Kootenay magazine provides spotlight for women writers

Freya launched last month across the region

When Patricia Smuga decided to start a magazine made by women from across the Kootenays, she wasn’t preoccupied with finding experienced writers.

Passion, she thought, would be the most important qualification.

“It was more like, do you care about this? Do you want to be part of something that’s from scratch and build it into a community?” says Smuga.

“Because I wanted the magazine itself to be part of a bigger project.”

Her call for contributors was answered with a flood of emails, which Smuga took as validation — there was, in fact, a need for her magazine in the region.

The first issue of Freya, featuring writing by Smuga, Kris Dylee, Josee Gulayets, Lexy Armstrong, Sarah Blaire and Darcee O’Hearn, was published last month in Nelson, Revelstoke, Cranbrook, Creston, Crawford Bay, Rossland, Salmo, Kimberley, Golden and the Slocan Valley.

The stories include an interview with rock climbers Daniele Montandon and Tula Sherkat, the resilience of women who own businesses during the pandemic, the effect social media has on teens, and a look at the concept and practice of psychedelic feminism.

“I really wanted the magazine to be for everyone as much for as possible,” says Smuga. “I wanted anyone from different backgrounds, different ages, different lifestyles to be able to pick up the magazine and find at least one thing in there that they can resonate with, or that they can be inspired by.”

The idea for a magazine came to Smuga after returning to Nelson last year from finishing a medical degree in Europe. She wanted to work on something unrelated to medicine, and looked to her own interest in writing and journalism.

But she also wanted to create a space for self-identified women to feature their work.

“I was always fascinated by the diversity, so many talented, creative people that I’ve never met in other places,” she says. “And then when I started thinking about women in general and the women that I knew or know or have heard about, their incredible stories, it just slowly fell into place.”

The cover story by Smuga is a profile of Sinixt elder Marilyn James. Smuga says she didn’t know the story of the Sinixt until someone suggested she write about James. What followed was an unexpected, emotional five-hour interview with James.

“I think she’s very resilient and intelligent and passionate, just an incredible human being. …,” says Smuga. “I wanted people to see that part, I wanted people to see her, not just the political things.”

The interview made such an impression that Smuga is donating proceeds from sales of Freya to the Sinixt as well as toward a mental health fund for resources to support women in the Kootenays.

With the first issue on stands, Smuga is hoping to put the magazine out twice per year. She’s also back on the hunt for more voices.

“It’s not about me, it’s about us as a collective … having as many people’s voices, opinions and ideas that can come out as possible.”

For a list of businesses where Freya can be purchased, visit https://www.facebook.com/freyamagazinekootenays.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Just Posted

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic training to take place in Castlegar

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

Portions of the Skattebo Reach Trail are being improved. Photo: Betsy Kline
Skattebo Reach Trail near Castlegar to become cycle friendly

Trail improvements geared towards cyclists being done in 2021

COVID-19 cases are once again dropping across the West Kootenay. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Ten new cases of COVID-19 in Nelson area

Numbers are steadily dropping across the West Kootenay

Katherine Shearer will be taking over as the SD20 superintendent. Photo: Submitted
SD20 superintendent Bill Ford to retire

Ford will be replaced by Katherine Shearer

From the left: Laura Greaves, Kyle Whyte and Steve Bigelow rescued a poisoned eagle Sunday, May 9. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay residents, Conservation Service Officer save poisoned eagle

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

The Libby Dam on the Kootenai River in Montana. The dam created the Koocanusa Reservoir, which straddles the B.C./Montana border. (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
Outflow at Libby Dam to be increased

Volume increase to aid migration and spawning conditions for endangered white sturgeon in the Kootenai River

Most Read