Guest speaker Barry Penhale joked about Saturday’s chilly weather, showing the audience a re-usable bag which had proved to be a very big hit at an international publishers event in London England with it’s slogan, “Canada Is Cool (literally)”.
Barry has been a journalist, broadcaster and publisher, and works currently with Dundurn Press of Hamilton. He noted that though it is wonderful to be a ‘name’ author, that’s not necessarily the role of many of our writers - many authors work very hard crafting their books on important topics, without getting a lot of thanks.
He painted a picture of a woman whose story consisted, really, of several stories. She was born in 1894 to a prominent Swedish family, became a nurse and experienced love and a tragic end to that love, came to Canada to work as a rural nurse and was hired to help care for the Dionne Quintuplets. She went on to live in a remote log cabin in northern Ontario where she developed into an internationally renowned naturalist and author. She won the John Burroughs Medal for her book, “The Lovely and the Wild” in 1969, one year after it was won by Rachael Carson for “Silent Spring”.
She offered the audience a bit of background – “every story starts with a little grain of sand which is polished”. Her grain of sand, in this case, was two friends who grew up with “less than wonderful fathers”. Alyssa went on to give a skilfully paced and animated reading of her powerful story.
Read more about the awards: www.johnkennethgalbraithliteraryaward.ca/.