Local journalist and author Tom Koppel grew up in New York City. Forty years ago, Koppel left his city life to go camping and hiking in British Columbia before a possible move to California or New Mexico. While travelling, he happened upon Salt Spring Island, where he fit easily into the community. He decided to remain on this little slice of paradise and became inspired by local stories.
Writers starting a new life in a rural community can find it challenging. At first, Koppel doubted that he could make a living as a journalist on Salt Spring. Then, Koppel wrote a story for Harrowsmith magazine about his garden, which was on a shell midden, and suddenly he had his first successfully published piece. Covering stories about the island and surrounding region, his work was soon being published in magazines like Canadian Geographic and Reader’s Digest.
Currently, Tom Koppel focuses on travel writing. He and his wife Annie Palovcik travel the world to capture bits of history and culture. With his wife’s excellent photographic skills and through Tom’s talent for the written word, the pair has published dozens of travel articles in recent years. Recently, they travelled to Switzerland and visited a town that only allows electric vehicles. Their piece was published first in the Globe & Mail and then in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tom Koppel has also written several books, though he remains a journalist at heart. “Every one of my books has evolved from a series of magazine articles” says Koppel. After finishing an article, he sometimes discovers additional pieces of wonderful material that expand a story into a book of narrative non-fiction. Koppel has shared many amazing adventures about places as far away as Antarctica, Fiji, Mongolia or Greenland, as well as stories from much closer to home.
- Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (1995)
- Powering the Future: The Ballard Fuel Cell and the Race to Change the World (1999)
- Lost World: Rewriting Prehistory—How New Science is Tracing America’s Ice Age Mariners (2003)
- Ebb and Flow: Tides and Life on Our Once and Future Planet (2007)
- Mystery Islands: Discovering the Ancient Pacific (2012)