CANMORE – The Bow Valley can boast of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the number of people putting pen to paper.
The picturesque surroundings have been inspiring painters and photographers for more than a century, but authors are also a notable fixture in the creative community.
“The idea for the Local Author Spotlight came to me after I saw the CBC video on Café Books when they featured 100 local authors,” April Post, adult programing coordinator at the Canmore Public Library said in an email.
Prior to the pandemic the library hosted authors four times a year on site at their Meet the Author events. The authors would give a presentation and talk about their latest work, and afterwards the audience would inevitably ask a question or two about the process of writing. Cue the Local Author Spotlight.
“Since we were unable to host events due to the pandemic, the author spotlight in the monthly newsletter was another way to introduce the community to our local authors on a more intimate level as it pertains to their writing,” Post said.
“Authors are given 15 questions and asked to answer four or five that ‘speak to them.’ We have received very positive comments from our newsletter readers about this feature.”
The first newsletter spotlight was in October, and featured Hazel Hutchins, author of more than 50 books for children, from board books for ages one to four, picture books for ages four to seven, and early and middle-grade novels for ages six to 11.
“I wanted to feature Hazel because many of the adults who grew up here, and children in the valley, would have read Hazel's books in school and since she's still writing, I wanted to share her writing wisdom,” Post said.
The November newsletter featured naturalist and former superintendent of Banff National Park Kevin Van Tighem and one of his books, Our Place: Changing the Nature of Alberta. December showcased Katherine Govier and her most recent release The Three Sisters Bar & Hotel. The two latest newsletters can be found on the library website.
As it happens, Bow Valley authors work in all genres, and the choice of questions asked gives established writers an opportunity to reflect not only on what inspires them, but also on the techniques used in the act of writing. This in turn gives curious readers and aspiring future authors a glimpse into the process that goes into creating books of all types.
“We're truly having fun with this spotlight and are enjoying the responses from our local authors,” Post said.
In January, the newsletter will feature Nancy O'Hare, a travel writer who has shifted focus for the moment, leaning on past financial experience to produce two books on personal finance. In February, the spotlight will be on Lauren Hawkeye, a New York Times bestselling author of romance novels.
December also saw a return of Meet the Author, re-imagined. Bruce Kirkby did a Zoom presentation for his book Blue Sky Kingdom, and more online presentations are scheduled for January and February.
Go to canmorelibrary.ab.ca for more information on the Local Author Spotlight feature and online Meet the Author events at the Canmore Public Library.