Professor’s new memoir recalls rural upbringing

Black woman reading book

Schulich School of Business Professor Emeritus Richard Irving takes readers on a light-hearted romp through the maple trees and blueberry bushes of his rural New Brunswick childhood in his new illustrated memoir, Backwoods Boy.

Richard Irving
Richard Irving

In Backwoods Boy: An Illustrated Memoir of growing up in Rural New Brunswick in the Fifties and Sixties, whimsical photographs and pencil-and-ink sketches accompany nostalgic stories that illustrate the joys and challenges of the time, while also demonstrating the social effects of technology’s progression.

Emerging from the Second World War, the rural county of Baltimore, N.B., where Irving lived, was isolated by poorly maintained roads and a lack of advanced telecommunications. Interestingly, in the author’s view, this seclusion fostered deep community connections and a solid sense of place in all who lived there.

“I wrote this book to bear witness to a rural lifestyle that has largely disappeared, and to honor the unsung people who quietly raised their families, helped their neighbours and lived their lives without fanfare,” said Irving.

Backwoods Boy is available at the York University Bookstore, on all e-book platforms and at For more information, visit or contact the author directly at