Ice Lake’s Chuc Willson pens illustrated book

Ice Lake writer Chuc Willson has penned a new illustrated book titled ‘The Longest Night of the People: a Story of the First Winter Solstice.’

ICE LAKE – Ice Lake writer and market gardener Chuc Willson has released an illustrated book entitled ‘The Longest Night of the People: A Story of the First Winter Solstice.’ It is an uplifting story, something that we could all use these days.

“Imagine the first people to come to earth, they experience spring, winter and fall, and as the hours of light diminish each day and it gets colder, they look at each other in fear,” Mr. Willson told The Expositor. “Then there is an event that occurs when one person brings out light, demonstrating that we all have light within ourselves. The intention of the story is to let people know the strength and light they have within themselves. It is definitely an uplifting story.” 

Written in a rich, lyrical prose, Mr. Willson’s story is brilliantly illuminated by 12 evocative paintings by Sudbury artist Andrea Fechner. 

Mr. Willson admitted, “probably not the best of times to release a book. We’re all pre-occupied with making it safely through the pandemic. A public book launch and book signings are out of the question. But on the other hand, the theme of the book is about finding light in the darkest of times. So perhaps the time is right after all.” 

Mr. Willson pointed out that the story itself was written several years ago. Since that time, he has shared it with family and friends on winter solstices. But when the decision was made to turn the story into an illustrated book, it seemed to take on a life of its own, he said. “Andrea did a fantastic job with the illustrations.”

“Once the book started to come together, a series of small problems caused delays,” said the author. “At first these were sources of frustration. Then I decided frustration would get me nowhere. So, I let go and allowed the book to follow its own path. To my surprise and delight, the last hurdle was cleared just days before the winter solstice of 2021. There wasn’t a lot of fanfare, but the book was released on the full moon two days prior to the solstice.”

“Yes, it is my first published book. I have had several writings published, a couple of stories published through the Anthology with the Manitoulin Writers Circle, and a couple of articles in The Manitoulin Expositor,” continued Mr. Willson. “I write for my own enjoyment,” he said, noting Ashley Whyte helped him format and edit the book. 

“I hope the book cheers people up,” stated Mr. Willson. “The time was right to release it. And if things settle down by early summer, Andrea and I will do a public launch at that time along with book signings and distribution of the book to retailers throughout the region.” 

The book will appeal to all ages, especially those who love rich, lyrical writing and vibrant paintings with an element of innocence, said Mr. Willson. Children will also enjoy the paintings and love having the story read to them several times.

Mr. Willson has been writing for his own enjoyment for many years. His credits include: winner of the Manitoulin Short Story Contest; publication of short stories in The Manitoulin Expositor, Sudbury Star, Highgrader Magazine and several anthologies. His stories have also been read on CBC Radio Sudbury. He is a member of the Manitoulin Writers Circle.

‘The Longest Night of the People’ is published under the auspices of Window Publishing, a small publishing company established by Linda Willson at the time when her own books were released. To order copies of the book, visit: An e-book version is also available on the website.