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One Book One Kootenay gears up for second year

Imagine a program that promotes the joy of reading, celebrates the writers living in the Kootenay Boundary, and provides a chance to discuss a great book and its themes. There is such a program, in its second year of connecting people through the literary arts: One Book One Kootenay.

Last year, The Kootenay Library Federation, representing 19 libraries in the East and West Kootenays and Boundary area, selected Angie Abdou’s The Bone Cage for its inaugural year.

The One Book One Kootenay 2010 shortlist includes 'Blue Valley' by Luanne Armstrong, ‘In the Path of an Avalanche’ by Vivien Bowers and ‘Treading Water’ by Anne DeGrace.

“It’s a great way to connect people throughout our far flung library region,” says Joanne Richards, KLF Director. “The Federation represents libraries and their readers from Sparwood to Midway, from Nakusp to Creston, and everything in between. When we select a book by one of our wonderful local writers, we create a region-wide book club.”

On Sept. 8, One Book One Kootenay announces its selected author and book. In October, Canadian Library Month, the writer visits host communities giving readings and talks.

The short-listed books are available at all participating libraries, and readers can check them out, feature them in their own book clubs, join on-line discussions, meet the author, or simply enjoy the quiet pleasure of reading a locally written book.

Luanne Armstrong’s Blue Valley (Maa Press, 2007), a memoir about her family farm on the east shore of Kootenay Lake, is grounded in her deep tie to the land, ecology, and language. Nelson’s Vivien Bowers’ In the Path of an Avalanche (Greystone, 2003) is a story of death and survival, following six experienced skiers on an ill-fated trip in the Selkirk Mountains. Anne DeGrace of Bonnington wrote Treading Water (McArthur and Co., 2005), which traces a fictional community based on Renata, from its first settler to the last to leave in the face of development of the Hugh Keenleyside dam in the 1960s, which submerged the village under 35 feet of water.

Angie Abdou wrote from the midst of her breakneck six-week tour last year: “Interest in One Book One Kootenay seems to be building -- the turn out at all of my events was fantastic and enthusiasm/interest was high.  We had a lot of great discussions about the Olympics [Abdou’s novel, The Bone Cage, is about competitive athletes], about the role of fiction, about the importance of celebrating our region's writers, about the writing process, and about the function of libraries.”

A website, www.obok.ca, featuring all three books, will be up and running in June.