Successful author reading for Titanic buffs held at Library

A published author who wrote a book about the Canadians on the Titanic was in Kamsack recently for an author reading.

The Kamsack Public Library hosted Alan Hustak on November 2 for a very successful author reading with around 20 people in attendance, according to organizer Betty Dix.

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“Alan was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who attended the event,” said Dix. “He sold all the books he brought to the event and commented that he had been to larger centres and had smaller crowds.”

Although Hustak has written numerous books, he was in Kamsack to entertain “Titanic buffs” with a reading of his work Titanic: The Canadian Story, a book that chronicled the lives of the Canadians aboard the ill-fated ship.

The book chronicles the untold saga of the 130 passengers aboard the luxury liner who were bound for Canada.

Hustak began his research ten years before the blockbuster movie came out. He conducted interviews across Canada with direct descendants and relatives of Canadians who sailed on the Titanic's maiden voyage, said information on the Internet. In the process he unearthed historic photographs and stories which contribute another dimension to the familiar tale.

Hustak's chronicles are more poignant than fiction, such as the tale of Quigg Baxter, the young Montreal hockey player who risked all to smuggle his Belgian fiancée aboard, the Fortune family from Winnipeg which failed to heed a clairvoyant's warning, and Harry Markland Molson, the richest Canadian aboard who was persuaded by Toronto millionaire Arthur Peuchen to extend his stay in England and sail home with him on the Titanic.

Hustak discloses the scandalous behaviour of second class passenger Joseph Fynney and tells of the young honeymooners Bert and Vera Dick of Calgary who started an enduring legend about the disaster.

Some books insist the Titanic's last victim, found in a lifeboat a month after the disaster, was from New Jersey; others say he was from Chicago. In fact he was Thomson Beattie of Winnipeg. These stories and others have been overlooked or ignored by American and British historians and enthusiasts who have written about the Titanic.

“Alan has ties to Saskatchewan,” said Dix, adding that the author’s mother’s family is from Stockholm. “Although the day was very cold, we were thrilled with the attendance, which included four persons from Preeceville.”

The youngest attendee was her grandson, Grayson Dix, who “was thrilled” to meet the author and had a “great time” at the event.

“Everyone had a chance to enjoy goodies and refreshments with the author after the reading, in a relaxed atmosphere,” Dix continued. “Our Library is such a beautiful space, and we are lucky to have this venue to hold such events.”

Hustak has more of his books, Titanic: The Canadian Story, available for sale which can be purchased through the Library, and received by mail. To find out more contact the Kamsack Public Library.

“They would make great Christmas gifts,” Dix said.

As for the Titanic, it will never really be known who was all on the ship before it sank, because the ship’s manifesto was incorrect, Dix concluded