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Cobourg & Port Hope

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Focus on: Cobourg & Port Hope
A Guide to Cobourg & Port Hope’s Literary Scene
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The neighbouring towns of Cobourg and Port Hope are warmly inviting to writers and readers alike. Home to thriving independent bookstores, reading series, well-attended book groups and writing workshops, these towns welcome visiting authors and support their local writers by turning out to pack the house for every literary event.

Follow our Focus On series throughout the month of March for author profiles and feature articles, our regional Recommended Reads and our new monthly contest...$50 in books from your local bookstore!

Cobourg & Port Hope News

Blog Alert! Mark Richardson Blogs About the Great Canadian Road Trip

Cobourg resident Mark Richardson, author of Canada’s Road (Dundurn Press), blogs about the great Canadian road trip in his guest blog post on the Dundurn Press website. Having taken an almost 30,000-km journey along the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C. last year, he recognizes the benefits of travelling on the ground rather than in a plane and explains in this post how road trips can put the whole travel experience into perspective.

On Writing, with Richard Pope

Cobourg resident Richard Pope, an enthusiastic birder and member of the Ontario Ornithological Club and the Ontario Field Ornithologists, is the author of The Reluctant Twitcher (Dundurn Press), a book that tells the story of his attempt to see more than 300 birds in Ontario in one year. Filled with colour photographs by Ontario’s best bird photographers, this is a great book for nature lovers, but it also uniquely portrays the human side of birding. Today, Richard tells Open Book about what led him to become a bird “twitcher” and not just a bird “watcher,” describes the strangest situation he found himself in during his Big Birding Year and explains how birdwatchers are similar to writers.

Get to Know Literary Ontario: Port Hope Public Library’s Tea and Books Book Club

The Port Hope Public Library is home to Tea and Books, a very different kind of book club where a group of avid readers come together to discuss books and drink tea, without the pressure of having to read the books. Started in 2002, this group has been fostering a love of reading in the Port Hope community for over ten years. Today, Port Hope Public Library’s Chief Librarian and CEO, Barbara Stephenson, tells Open Book about what makes this particular book club so unique, how the book club got started, how it has evolved since it began and the book that has really stood out for the group.

Larger-Than-Life Characters and the Cobourg Community: An Interview with Author Shane Peacock

By Megan Philipp

Shane Peacock writes about extraordinary people, larger-than-life characters that we dream of being as children, but never get to be. During his career as a journalist and writer of non-fiction, he pursued these fascinating, sometimes odd, personalities, from Canada’s prime ministers in his book Unusual Heroes: Canada’s Prime Ministers (Penguin Books Canada) to Port Hope’s William Hunt in The Great Farini: The High-Wire Life of William Hunt (Penguin Books Canada). He has also written three successful plays for the 4th Line Theatre, an outdoor theatre in Millbrook, Ontario that has gained national attention; these plays brought to life William Hunt, Port Hope preacher Joseph Scriven and two Canadians training to be spies at southern Ontario’s Camp X. Shane is, however, perhaps best known for his highly entertaining books for children (which adults seem to love as well), with his most recent publications being the final installment of his Boy Sherlock Holmes series, Becoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case (Tundra Books), and his contribution to the Seven series, Last Message (Orca Books). Regardless of whether he is writing non-fiction or fiction, interesting, extraordinary characters are always at the heart of Shane’s stories because, as he says, “those characters are, to me, much more fun, more theatrical, much more interesting to create and to read about.”

The War Series: Writers As Readers, with Ted Staunton

The WAR Series (Writers As Readers) is our newest interview series at Open Book, and gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Since 1983, Ted Staunton has been a writer for children and teens, with an impressive list of published books that includes Power Chord (Orca Books) and his recent contribution to the Seven series, Jump Cut (Orca Books). Currently living in Port Hope, Ted tells us about his role as a reader by revealing the many books that have made him cry and laugh, the books that he’s re-read countless times and the possible title to his autobiography. The fact that he has a hard time picking just one book in most of his answers attests to his passion for reading.

A Poetry Place: How The Town of Cobourg Became Poetry Central

By James Pickersgill

When Eric Winter stepped down as Cobourg's Poet Laureate in August 2009 after 12 years of service, he was asked how he had managed to fill his post for so long. The poet replied with typical self-effacing humour and a twinkle in his eye, “I think they forgot the town even had a Laureate and so I was able to keep going as long as I flew under the radar.” Poets and poetry lovers, however, know that Eric Winter worked tirelessly for poetry during his dozen years as Poet Laureate, and his legacy continues to this day. The town of Cobourg has become knowns as "A Poetry Place."

Recommended Reads - Cobourg & Port Hope

by Erin Knight and Megan Philipp

With the winds of March howling outside many Canadians will be flipping longingly through the pages of the newspaper's Travel section. Whether these last few weeks of winter find you heading south or tucking indoors, this selection of books by the talented authors of Cobourg and Port Hope will have you celebrating the inspiring landscape of Lake Ontario's northern shore. With recommendations for poetry, novels, YA fiction, memoir and reportage, our latest Recommended Reads list will point you in the right direction for finding your next great book.

Don't miss out on a chance to choose a selection of these books from The Avid Reader Magazines and Books! Enter our latest "Focus On" contest and you could win $50 to spend at this incredible independent bookstore. Click here for more details.

Focus On: Cobourg & Port Hope - Win Books from The Avid Reader!

Open Book is celebrating Focus On: Cobourg & Port Hope by giving away a $50 credit at Cobourg's The Avid Reader Magazines and Books. You'll be sure to find your next good read in these well-stocked shelves...and if you need suggestions, just ask the book-loving staff or bring in our list of Recommended Reads by Cobourg & Port Hope authors.

To enter, all you need to do is send an email with the Subject heading "Cobourg & Port Hope" to [email protected] and tell us what you love about literary life in your town. Please include your name and mailing address in the email.

The contest closes on March 31, 2013. For complete contest rules, click here.

Focus On: Cobourg & Port Hope!

The neighbouring towns of Cobourg and Port Hope are warmly inviting to writers and readers alike. Home to thriving independent bookstores, reading series, well-attended book groups and writing workshops, these towns welcome visiting authors and support their local writers by turning out to pack the house for every literary event.

Follow our Focus On series throughout the month of March for author profiles and feature articles, our regional Recommended Reads and our new monthly contest...$50 in books from your local bookstore!

Poets in Profile: Alan Butcher

Alan Butcher has recently released his book of poetry, The Silence of the North (Bookland Press), which meditates on Canada's arctic region, a region of Canada least known by most, but also a region of beauty, mystery, myth and passion. Alan taps into Canada's arctic region to investigate our relationship to the landscape and to create an evocative blend of memory and emotion.

In his edition of the Poets in Profile series, Alan talks about his childhood attraction towards poetry, his aversion to free verse and how there is no such thing as an unlikely source of inspiration.

Bruce Kauffman: From Airwaves to the Anthology "That Not Forgotten"

Open Book is thrilled to announce the launch of That Not Forgotten (Hidden Brook Press), an anthology of poetry, prose and artwork that explores Ontario's beautiful North Shore region. The launch will take place on Sunday, September 9th at 12:45 p.m. at Kingston's Yacht Club. Visit our Events page for details.

Bruce Kauffman, the editor of That Not Forgotten, describes the response to the call for submission as "both generous and touching." Hidden Brook Press received over 118 contributions from writers and other visual artists who have lost and found pieces of themselves in the North Shore landscape, between Kingston and Port Hope and from the north shore of Lake Ontario up to Highway 7.

Open Book contributor Ashliegh Gehl spoke with Bruce about his love of poetry, the radio program Finding a Voice and the anthology That Not Forgotten.

Port Hope Celebrates 100 Years of the Carnegie Free Library

The Mary J. Benson branch of the Port Hope Public Library, formerly known as the Carnegie Free Library, is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

In 1911, Port Hope was given a $10,000 grant to build a library. The grant came from Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American industrialist who played a large part in expanding America's steel industry. He donated $56-million for 2,509 library buildings internationally. Out of the 125 he funded in Canada, 111 of them were in Ontario.

On Writing, with Jill Battson

Jill Battson is the author of The Ecstatic Torture of Gratitude (Guernica).

Both a poet and a poetry activist, Jill's first book Hard Candy was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award.

Jill talks with Open Book about the nature of gratitude, the importance of writing poetry and plans for future projects.

Open Book:

Cobourg Appoints Ted Amsden as 3rd Poet Laureate

On Monday, October 3rd, Cobourg appointed its third poet laureate, Ted Amsden. Amsden will remain poet laureate for a term of three years, ending in 2014.

Five Things Literary: Millbrook, Ontario, with Esperanca Melo

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 Millbrook was contributed by Esperança Melo, illustrator of the recently published Merci Mister Dash! (Tundra Books).

Merci Mister Dash! was written by Monica Kulling. Visit Open Book: Toronto for Monica's Five Things Literary: Queen West & Beyond.

Cobourg & Port Hope Events

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