This year’s book selection for One Book One Community made its way to Elmira District Secondary School on Wednesday where specially selected students and the public had a chance to meet the author at the event held in the school’s cafeteria.Allan Casey’s novel, Lakeland is a take on Canada’s many lakes and their role in the country’s landscape and various communities.
“It’s a non-fiction look at different lakes in Canada and what those lakes represent to the communities around them. It touches on environmental issues; it touches on the psychology of lakes…on how we interact with them and then how they shape our communities” said EDSS Department Head of English Kelly Brown who organized the event.
One Book One Community is in its eleventh year of encouraging readers to take interest in Canadian literature. Casey read a passage from his book in front of Elmira’s visitors and students present on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
Casey shared a passage in his book detailing his trip to La Ronge, Saskatchewan where his family use to own a hotel and from where he would travel to an area of Lake Athabasca only assessable during winter months. The passage as many of the book’s aspects do, spoke of barriers between cultures in Canada, issues surrounding Canada’s water bodies and the history of aboriginal communities in the town.
“I’m a journalist by trade and I built Lakeland with a journalist’s tools kit,” he said, addressing the crowd at the reading and referring to Lakeland, in some ways, as an extended work of journalism. He added that he could not have done have finished his work “without the generosity of people to share their experiences.”
“The really Canadian aspect was people so automatically want to talk about the country in regional terms,” he explained, “not having the sense that just beyond the horizon the exact same things are happening,” he said before reading the short passage to students and other visitors to the school.
“It‘s a wonderful opportunity for our students,” Brown said. Due to limited space, students came on an invitation basis as organizers tried to choose classes that would benefit most from Casey’s presentation.
“We’ve got writers crafts class which is a grade 12 class for students who are interested in the writing process and potentially even becoming writers if that’s their goal. Students are going to have the opportunity… to learn more about the writing process from a real author,” Brown explained.
Because of a strong geographical aspect in the book Brown was also inclined to invite senior geography students to participate in the event where they could discuss the book and ask questions of the author after the reading. Signed copies of the novel were also available for purchase at the event.
Copies of Lakeland will be provided for teachers of the students in attendance on Wednesday. Though time constraints will likely not permit teachers to cover the entire book, according to Brown, students will cover parts of the book in class.
This wasn’t the first time Lakeland has been recognized. The author and journalist’s work won Canada’s 2010 Governor General’s Award for non-fiction and was nominated in the non-fiction category of the Saskatchewan Book Awards and for the Edna Staebler Award for Literary Non-fiction according to the author’s website.