The Coast News Group
A Place To Call Home

Book signing with Alison Burns

Alison Burns, a native Brit, has lived in Europe, Asia and the Middle East working as both magazine editor and newspaper columnist. She holds degrees in French and Business from London’s University of the South Bank and another in Communications and Media Management from the University of South Australia.

Author Alison Burns. Photo courtesy of Jay Clark
In the summer of ‘75, three days after her marriage to Patrick, she left for Ann Arbor, MI, with just a suitcase and a trunk – full of clothes (that didn’t entirely anticipate Detroit winters) and her wedding photos. She’s been following her husband (International HR Director of such blue chip companies as Reuters, Citibank and Rolls-Royce) around the world ever since – Paris, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, London – to name but a few. Fortunately she has a talent that is reasonably portable and has been able to write in many of these locations, family demands permitting.

Three years ago they arrived in Olivenhain from their latest stint in Singapore

Her children, whom she refers to as “third culture kids” were all born in different countries – yes, even the twins, whose Green Cards, curiously enough, show one born in Hong Kong and the other in China! This time last year, she says, I had four children living in four different countries – by this time next year we’ll all be on the same continent.

Several months after arriving in Olivenhain, Alison volunteered her services as a docent at the 1883 Schoolhouse, home of the Encinitas Historical Society. She immediately took over the society’s newsletter and once that had been transformed, built them a website,

The following year, she was approached by Arcadia Publishing to author a book in their new series, Legendary Locals. It was quite a challenge since she was so new to the area and still finding her feet. Many people who have lived here all their lives would shirk at taking on such a challenge but her attitude was that knowing so few of the City’s 60,000 inhabitants was actually an advantage since there was no pressure to put any “favorites” in the book: they got there through their own merit.

Alison settled on five chapters to divide up her book; the very first pioneers, like the Hammonds and Bumanns; next, the wave of newcomers who followed, the ones who “built this city”; the third chapter covers those people who continue to carry the torch. The final two chapters concentrated on the surfboarders, snowboarders and skateboarders, as well as other sportsmen and women who have made their home here. Finally she documented the thriving arts community. Alison apologizes in advance for reducing people’s entire lives to 400, sometimes just 100, words but her style makes it easy for the reader to romp through the book learning more and more about our community’s diverse inhabitants, seeking out stories that would never otherwise have come to light.

This unique and engaging book about our city’s inhabitants past and present, makes a delightful patchwork quilt which Poet Laureate, Trish Dugger, who is featured in the book says is a “wonderful addition to our community.”

Faith Niles, Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library retired Branch Manager says: “This book brings back so many memories of people who passed through the Cardiff Library and into my life.. It’s a treasure and will be part of my personal library”.

I was honored to be a part of this book with the many friends that I have worked with on various projects and committees.

Friends are pleased to host a gathering on July 28th.1-3 p.m. at the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library where Alison will be autographing her book. Please join us in Cardiff-by-the-Sea the place we are proud to call home.