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Expanded County Reads event welcomes authors and students

Five County residents will champion their favourite Canadian book in a newly-expanded County Reads weekend festival. The ninth annual event has turned over a new look this year – from a stylized new logo to a new venue and launch of County Reads More.

Details were unveiled at a media event Tuesday at the Wellington Branch of the County of Prince Edward Public Library – host for the event.

The new plans replace the County Authors’ Festival, on hiatus this year.

“In recent years, the County Reads evening has always opened the festival, so with this in mind we felt that under the umbrella of the Picton Library, we would hold author events around County Reads and at the same time launch our new program “The County Reads….More”,” said Marlene Fraser, committee member. “Not only will we have events around County Reads, we will have events throughout the year. Some of these events will be ticketed and used as fundraisers for the Picton Library expansion project.”

Guest authors in the line up so far include David Frum, Charlotte Gray, Terry Fallis, Frances Itani, Rosemary Sullivan and Al Purdy A-Frame author-in-residence this year, Tim Faulkner – with more authors to be announced.

Some ticketed events will be fundraisers for the coming expansion of the Picton Branch Library. The first event in the series will bring Le Cercle Francais de Milford presenting the first Dorothy Speirs-Vincent Rendezvous. Roch Carrier will fread from, and discuss his most recent book, Demain Matin, J’ai Ecris Un Roman, on Friday, April 20 at the Picton Town Hall, at 3 p.m. The presentation will be bilingual.

County Reads moderator Ken Murray said the evening for “everyone who has ever had the experience of reading a book and having it change how they feel about the world and life, or about themselves.”

County Reads, to be held Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. at Waring Hall, features each of five local residents championing their chosen book.

Krista Dalby will champion ‘Glory’ by Gillian Wigmore. Ray Hobson is championing ‘The Last Neanderthal’ by Claire Cameron. Conrad Beaubien is championing ‘Testimony’ by Robbie Robertson while Sarah Selecky defends ‘Son of a Trickster’ by Eden Robinson and Shelagh Mathers will champion ‘The River’ by Helen Humphreys.

Local authors and publishers are being invited to reserve tables at the County Reads to apeak with readers and sell their books, creating a mini-expo of County talent in the field of the written word.

Another new component is County Reads Junior, this year in partnership with St. Gregory’s elementary school. Three students from Grades 7 and 8 have recorded short videos defending a Canadian book they feel strongly about. The videos are featured online and public voting on the Prince Edward County Public Library Facebook page will declare a winner. (See the videos below.) The winning video will be shown at intermission at the County Reads event.

This year’s County Reads books (available at the library for those who want to read them before the debate):

Glory, by Gillian Wigmore
In a boom town dominated by a man-eating lake, Renee and Danny Chance start a new life in his grandfather’s cabin. Renee with two bar-singer cousins, are called to test the bonds of blood and loyalty.
Glory explores what it means to be a woman in north-central BC by floodoing the shores of the human heart.

The Last Neanderthal, by Claire Cameron
Some 40,000 years in the past, the last family of Neanderthals roams the earth. After a hard winter, their numbers are low, but Girl, the oldest daughter, is just coming of age and her family is determined to travel to the annual meeting place and find her a mate. But the unforgiving landscape takes its toll and Girl is left alone, to care for Runt. Girl realizes she has one chance to save her people, even if it means sacrificing part of herself.

Testimony, by Robbie Robertson
On the 40th annviersary of the band’s legendary The Last Waltz concert, Robbie Robertson finally tells his own spell-binding story of the band that changed music history; his extraordinary personal journey, and his creative friendships with some of the greates artists of the last half-century.

Son of a Trickster, by Eden Robinson
With striking originality and precision, the Giller short-listed author of the classic Monkey Beach blends humour with heart-break in a compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existenmce meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics and cannibalistic river otter. This is the first novel in her trickster trilogy.

The River, by Helen Humphreys
We tend to look at landscape in relation to what it can do for us. Does it move us with its beauty? Can we make a living from it? But what if we examined a landscape on its own terms, freed from our expectations and assumptions? For more than a decade Humphreys has owned a small waterside property on the Napanee River. She has studied the river through the seasons and years, cataloguing its ebb and flows, the plants and creatures and signs of human usage. The result is her book, a moving meditation that uses fiction, non-fiction, natural history, archival maps and images, to get at the truth.

The County Reads Junior

Please take the time to watch the video, read the book (if you feel compelled) and vote for your favourite title. The winner will be announced, and winning video shown, at The County Reads gala on April 19th. TO VOTE visit the Prince Edward County Public Library Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/peclibrary/ and use the like button under the video to show your support! The video with the most likes by noon on Wednesday, April 18th will be the winner.


This video is of Angelina Bonato, a Grade 8 student at St. Greg’s, who has chosen the title “The Incredible Space Raiders from Space” by Wesley King.


This video is of Joseph Spinosa, a Grade 7 student at St. Greg’s, who has chosen the title “Superbodies” by Greg Wells.


This video is of Alice Graham, a Grade 7 student at St. Greg’s, who has chosen the title “Speechless” by Jennifer Mook-Sang.

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  1. Ray Hobson says:

    The County Reads Junior is such a great idea. Please encourage all your friends young ones in particular to vote. Hopefully next year there will be more entrants if there is more awareness.

    Of course we senior entrants hope you will continue the tradition of a large turnout at the new venue on Thursday evening.

    Events on all three days will be a book lover’s delight.

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