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By Wendy Gabrek
The New Tecumseth Public Library will host its One Book, One New Tecumseth series again for 2019, featuring author Helen Humphreys and her novel Machine Without Horses, in the fifth iteration of the adult reading event.
The event will culminate in an author visit and book signing on Tuesday, October 15, from 7–9 p.m., at the Nottawasaga Inn Resort. Tickets are $10 and are available now at all three library branches.
Helen Humphreys is an award-winning Canadian poet and novelist. Her well known and much-loved previous titles include: Afterimage, The Lost Garden, Coventry, The Reinvention of Love, and Nocturne: On the Life and Death of My Brother.
In Machine Without Horses (2018), Humphreys explores the real life and the imagined internal life of the famous and famously private salmon-fly dresser Megan Boyd, a craftswoman who worked for 60 years out of a bare-bones cottage in a small village in the north of Scotland.
Copies of Machines Without Horses can be borrowed from any NTPL branch. Copies will also be available for purchase in August.
“One Book, One New Tecumseth promotes a love of reading by adults, contributes to creating an adult reading culture in New Tecumseth – made up of the communities of Alliston, Beeton and Tottenham – and builds a sense of community through the shared experience of reading,” said Kimberley Burgess, Adult Services Programmer, New Tecumseth Public Library, Alliston Memorial Branch. “One Book, One New Tecumseth will be widely promoted within the library, at local bookstores, literacy and literary related events and community groups and in the media.”
Previous One Book, One New Tecumseth books are:
• 2019 Helen Humphreys, Machine Without Horses
• 2017 Charlotte Gray, The Promise of Canada: 150 Years – People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country
• 2015 Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows
• 2014 Terry Fallis, No Relation
• 2013 Tanis Rideout, Above All Things
“The One Book Committee consisting of five staff members in various library roles met to discuss title and author candidates; we read and discussed titles at length, and created a short list of our recommendations,” said Burgess on the book selection. “I personally suggested and championed this title because I absolutely loved this book, and because I have read many other titles by Helen Humphreys and have loved them all; for me she truly is an iconic Canadian author.”
Author Humphreys is also a favourite with the seven internal and 17 external library affiliated book clubs in New Tecumseth.
“Writing Groups are big in New Tecumseth as well, at the library we co-run a program called Wordsmiths with a member from the South Simcoe Arts Council,” added Burgess. “I think anyone interested in writing professionally or as a hobby will appreciate the examination of the craft of writing in this book. Historical Fiction is a hugely popular genre in New Tecumseth. Megan Boyd, the subject of the book, is an extraordinary yet ordinary person.”
On meeting the author in person, NTPL CEO Mark Gagnon said, “I look forward to meeting all of the authors we host for One Book One New Tecumseth. This event raises our profile in the community, and making the connection with the author is a part of it.”
And Ms. Humphreys is excited, too.
“When I reached out to Ms. Humphreys in early May 2019 to let her know NTPL would be honoured to host Helen as our OBONT 2019 author featuring her recent title Machine Without Horses, Helen's reply was same day and very appreciative and enthusiastic,” said Burgess. “Ms. Humphreys thankful that we wanted her, while we at NTPL are so very thankful that she would want us.”
On average 150 participants take part in the One Book Author Talk events.
“Hundreds more who maybe can't attend the Author Talk itself still participate by reading the featured OBONT title, and by reading other works by the featured author,” Burgess told The Times. “We also typically offer other lower key tie-in events.”
Helen Humphreys is a Canadian poet and novelist. Born June 1961, in Kingston-on-Thames, England, she currently lives in Kingston ON. Humphreys was expelled from high school, but attended alternative school to finish her education. She is a self-described voracious reader and writer from a young age. Her first poem was published in 1986 when she was 25; and her writing career spans over 30 years – producing five books of poetry, 10 fiction books, and three non-fiction books.
For more information about One Book, One New Tecumseth contact your local library branch:
• Memorial Branch (Alliston)
17 Victoria St. E. – 705-435-5651
• D A Jones Branch (Beeton)
42 Main St. W. – 905-729-3726
• Pam Kirkpatrick Branch (Tottenham) 55 Queen St. S. – 905-936-2291.
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