Mark Allan Greene
Categories: Male Authors - Anglophone Authors - Authors of Non-Fiction - Fundy Coast
Source: Author / auteur
Mark Allan Greene grew up in Saint John and graduated from Saint John High School. A writer, playwright and practicing lawyer, he retains a fascination with the history of his hometown and its dramatic destruction and rebuilding. He has searched through hundreds of archival images from the 1800s and early 1900s to find images that portray the city before, during and after the 1877 Great Fire. He has also researched the impact of the fire to find many fascinating accounts of the event and its aftermath. Mark Allan Greene now lives in Edmonton.
How has New Brunswick influenced your work?
New Brunswick's history has influenced my work. The province has a rich pre-colonial history, as well as being the frontlines for the many wars between the British and the French (and sometimes the Americans and Fenians). New Brunswickers value their history, but the region is losing more and more historic buildings and our stories are being lost to time. The goal of my work is to revitalize interest in the lesser-known aspects of New Brunswick history.
What is your favourite New Brunswick book, and why?
A self-published book entitled Indiantown – A Town Forgotten by Richard Burke. It beautifully brings the reader to a bygone era when an area in north Saint John was a bustling and vibrant community. The author interviewed long-term residents to add stories that would not otherwise have been documented. So much of the history of that area would have been lost if Burke had not chosen to document and publish this book.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my writing career was having The Great Saint John Fire of 1877 appear as the #1 New Brunswick bestseller for 2022 (Chapters/Indigo/Coles). It showed that even after 145 years, there is still interest in the Great Fire.
The Great Saint John Fire of 1877: The Rise, Destruction and Recovery of Canada's Leading Port City
By 1851, Saint John had grown to be the third largest city in British North America. Home to thriving shipbuilding and lumber-exporting industries it was a vibrant port city and had the world's fourth-largest accumulation of vessels. An economic depression in the 1870s was hard on the city, but nothing prepared residents for the disaster on June 20, 1877.
A sudden enormous fire swept through the busy centre of Saint John over nine hours. It destroyed almost half the city and left 13,000 residents homeless, and livelihoods destroyed.
But the rebuild was swift, with fire prevention at the forefront of design and construction. By 1881, Saint John was reborn, stronger, and more beautiful than ever.
This book, incorporating a collection of more than 120 archival images, tells the story in words and pictures of the rise, destruction and rebuilding of the city.