Anne Gafiuk's "What's in a Story?" Story Writing and Memoirs

What's in a Story Banner



Thank you so much for coming to class today. It's so fascinating to see all of the detective work that you put into your studies about the personal lives of those in Union Cemetery. I really liked the way that the mysteries came together, culminating in you solving a piece of the puzzle. Your talk really gave students a glimpse of your process of doing archival research and the examples and pictures were a treat!! I hope that in the future you will be able to share your knowledge again with the students. The time and thought you put into your talk was invaluable.

Jackie Ho, PhD
Instructor of Religious Studies - Department of Humanities
Mount Royal University
Book Review Editor - Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies

Dear Anne,

At last I found some time to listen to the podcast, wow, you are a great story teller! And also someone who is interested in the ‘men in the uniform’ like I do.

Great story and please keep sharing their stories, as we do in Faces to Graves project for all men buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek.

Warm regards,

Alice van Bekkum, president Faces To Graves Foundation

Thank you so much for the article on Torindo Bisaro, having the talent and interest to recreate life and give meaning from a non-living person. It was interesting how it all came together, and it is a special feeling for me to have Tony's name remembered in the ways that it has, since he was Mom's cousin, but more a brother and an extension of our family history, which I feel is important to know.

Paul J., Burnaby, BC

Anne was engaged because she has a keen interest in Canadian WWII RCAF aviators. Both my stepfather and biological father were pilots; I was looking to her for a better understanding of what made them tick. Her strength is being able to 'read between the lines' on the reams of meticulously researched data. This sensitivity exists because of Anne Gafiuk's deep understanding of the personalities of many Canadian fliers whose formative years were spent in the depression, then shaped further in a horrific global conflict. She compassionately accepts that while dutiful and often heroic, these men also leaned on coping mechanisms, some of which would seem unacceptable in today's comparatively peaceful times and standards. It was a world in crisis and she captures their thinking and motivations accurately and poignantly. Anne's work is important in making sure these men are not forgotten.

Mike Snider, Calgary

You have been the spark that allowed me to be able to share my personal biography and life activities with my children, grandchildren, and my siblings....I value your friendship so much, including your writing skills in bringing together our family history, family tree, and family Christmas letter.

Bob P.

I read your last article today, Anne. You have a very comfortable writing style. You capture the moments and the flavour of the experience nicely! It is definitely interesting reading about Dad’s experiences from your perspective. Thank you for your skills.

Roberta B., White Rock, BC

As far as the book goes, what can I say... amazing. I can't believe how much information you brought together to complete the project. It's an incredible publication, one you should be very proud of. Having input from your panel on various aspects of the topics you covered added much to the overall scope of the book. There is so much to be gained from your book for those interested in information in this era, I hope you get many readers (and purchasers !)

Bruce, NB

I stand in awe of your panel and their genuine involvement in the issues. In short, this book examines 16 tragedies, helps us to understand the profundity of the losses that came from them and reveals something of the efforts that were made to learn from them. Above all, it makes a place for itself on the Military History bookshelf where the glories of War get too much coverage and the Costs do not. Thanks, Anne. It is a very good read.

Bill, Ontario

The book arrived and it is fabulous. You did a wonderful job and should be very proud of your work.

I so enjoyed it and quickly lent it to a friend who is a retired veteran Lt Commander - navy pilot - who loved it. He said he not only loved reading it but he learned something. He gave it very high praise and said he wants to shake your hand when you come to Pender. My friend Terry then borrowed it. He is a vet and on the Legion Executive and he was very complimentary of the style and layout - before reading it. So you have caused a real stir on Pender and I think a book signing would be well attended.

Gary, BC

I have met and worked with many aviation historians and enthusiasts over the past 10 years. It is rare indeed to find one who cares about the human side of these stories. You and I, madam, are what I call emotional historians.

Dave O'Malley
Creative Director and President
Aerographics Creative Services
613 562 9555

Your talk was not just good, it was excellent. You were so confident and well spoken in your delivery that you held everyone's attention all the way through your talk. You did so much research that you knew the content thoroughly. The depth of your research showed how much passion you had for the story. One could tell that you left no stone unturned and you dug right in to bring it to life.

You seem to me to be a born researcher, story teller, and journalist. May God continue to bless you with success for your current and future projects.

Robert (Bob) Petersen

Anne, Your work is noble and incredibly respectful of our ancestors remembrance. These are family members we never knew but through your stories we are reminded of who they were. Thanks for enshrining in print such a historical memorial to those most of us never met but loved because they were our family!! Well done!

E. Loven, Calgary


I just finished your book on Gordon Jones's life as an instructor under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and frankly, I could not put it down. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the book. Your research was fantastic, never have I seen so much original material from the Library and Archives of Canada. I liked the way you integrated historical material and material from your interviews with the Jones's. I look forward to reading your other projects.

Richard Dooley

Thank you so much Anne for sending the Kingsville Archives a copy of your beautiful book, She Made Them Family. I was so impressed. It is an interesting and very well designed book. You have done an excellent job! It is an inspiration on how to put together an attractive and appealing scrapbook history. I must admit that I have never seen this format done so well before.

Marilyn, Archives Committee
Kingsville-Gosfield Heritage Society

Your work is great -- it's inspired me.

Sandy, Alaska

Anne, your ability to capture my father's WWII military experience in your recent book, She Made Them Family, was invaluable to our family. We were previously unaware of many of the details of this history that you gleaned from him. Your account was comprehensive and well written. As memories fade, we are grateful that this book will be enjoyed by generations of our family for years to come. Your enthusiasm for this project was evident throughout the process. It was a pleasure for my father and our family to work with you!

H. Gibbard

It was one of the best programs that I have seen at Fort Calgary.

Stutt Pottruff
Chinook Country Historical Society
403 261 4667

Thanks so much, Anne - it was a wonderful presentation! Your work is amazing.


Rev. Lee Spice
403 244 0120

I think that we are all amazed at the attention Wings Over High River has generated. My brother in Vancouver wants a copy. I believe the success is due to a number of things. One; Gordon the man himself. He is truly a unique individual. Two; All of the lives that he has touched. Three; Who the heck at 89 is still flying? It is just not any airplane, it's a Tiger Moth. Four; Your wonderful gift of bringing the lovable 'down home' Gordon to share his story in a way that every reader feels that they know him. Five; Your heart Anne. It was a labour of love, and you took us all there.

Tink Robinson,
Former Bomber Command Museum Director,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I have known Anne Gafiuk for over 15 years. Anne is a real pleasure to work with because she is self motivated and really enjoys working with people, as has been evident at several conferences and magazine articles we collaborated on together. She approaches every assignment or function with enthusiasm and professionalism.

Don Molyneaux,
Photographer -403 708 7537

Anne Gafiuk writes with a passion about her literary subjects which are always meticulously researched. Her abilities also extend to excellent work in the field of sentence structure, grammar correction and editorial work. I strongly recommend her services.

Ken Wright
Freelance Military writer,
Melbourne, Australia

Dear Anne,

I wanted to thank you for forwarding me the magazine with my dad's article. You certainly captured him and I can tell you -- you made his day. Loved the photos, you have a great smile and certainly a talent for writing. Thank you so much.


I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Anne Gafiuk for more than three years now and had sent her on a variety of freelance writing assignments for Calgary New Home Living, Calgary Condo Living and Resorts magazines that I have been editing. She is extremely reliable in submitting articles well before deadline, which are not only well-written in her distinctive and punchy prose, but offers fresh insight to the usually dry real estate articles I assign to her. I am glad to be able to count on her for time-sensitive material knowing that I will be getting a well-written, reader-friendly article fit for our magazines.

Pepper Rodriguez

Anne was a pleasure to work with. She was efficient and did great work in record time. I would not hesitate to hire Anne again.

Erynn Lyster
Proprietress/Creative Director
Urban Motif Design Inc.

403 399 1716

Inventing extraordinary brand identities for businesses, non-profits and individuals.

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