Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Five Things Literary: Niagara, with Marci Catania

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As part of our mapping of literary Ontario, we're highlighting five things about literary life in communities throughout the province. What do our cities, towns and villages have to offer writers, readers and the curious? Follow Five Things Literary to find out.

Today's feature on literary life in the Niagara Region was contributed by blogger, literacy advocate and mother Marci Catania. Marci has been interviewed by Torontoist and the CBC Books blog, and she has been a featured reader for House of Anansi Press. She's currently getting ready to flex her literary mind at the Canada Reads launch on November 23rd. Marci blogs at Serendipitous Readings.


1. Authors: Cathy Marie Buchanan whose New York Times best-selling book, The Day the Falls Stood Still, was born and raised in Niagara Falls. Her second book has recently been purchased here in Canada and the US. It is tentatively titled The Van Goethem Sisters and set in Paris between 1878 and 1881.

Catherine Gildiner's memoirs Too Close To The Falls and After The Falls have also garnered critical attention for the region.

Gregory Betts, poet, as well as a professor, lives in the region as well.

H.G. Wells featured Niagara in his novel The War in The Air.

2. The Shaw Festival who hit the big 5-0 this year. It is looking better than ever!

3. The Pelham Library: I have to say the most active library in the area for embracing literacy, events and getting the community involved. Right now they have a juried art show on display/sale until the end of November through the Pelham Art Association. And, if you are one of those literary types, like I am, they have authors galore that come and do book readings/signings. Ami McKay and Helen Humphreys will be there to do a reading/signing in the very near future. For all of the Pelham Library events go to (Cool authors come by to read all the time, so keep tuned to their website for more authors coming your way.) They also participate in what is called The Niagara Literary Arts Festival that comes each year to the Region.

4. The Niagara Falls Public Library has the best collection of local history around the area, if you are into looking for that sort of thing. Cathy Marie Buchanan actually did a piece as part of a blog tour for her first book The Day The Falls Stood Still.

5. Next year will be the bicentennial of 1812, so the region will be having some events going on with this. Laura Secord was famously put into the history books when she warned the British that the US was getting ready to attack during that war. The Underground Railroad was a safe haven for refugee slaves crossing the Niagara River into freedom from about 1796-1949. Harriet Beecher Stowe?s book Uncle Tom?s Cabin was patterned after Josiah Henson and his journey. The Niagara Early Years Centers have an annual Regional Chair Niagara Early Years Niagara Literary Award, which will be announced on January 19, 2012.

Would you like to contribute five things about literary life in your community? Send an email with your ideas to [email protected]

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