Public Library holds spring tea and author reading

“It’s nice to see so many of you here this afternoon for the author reading and spring tea at the Library,” said Sherry Guenther, library board member in her introduction of published author Janet Love Morrison.

The Kamsack branch of the Parkland Library held its annual tea on April 6, with approximately 25 in attendance.

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The event began with Morrison talking about her latest published work, The Lotus Farmer. Telling her audience that she had spent 10 years in Asia during the 80s, she said she wanted to “write something to honour and celebrate diversity and humanity. In Asia there are many ‘gurus’ (teachers) and their nickname is ‘lotus farmers.’”

She spent a total of 14 years travelling in other countries during the 70s and 80s and said everywhere she went she was welcomed by the locals, and never once excluded because of her nationality or race.

“I consider myself a citizen of the world, before being Canadian,” she said. “In this book, I have had the opportunity to present an ‘east meets west’ scenario. The setting is a small Canadian town in the early 70s, when folks traditionally met and conversed at places like the hair salon featured in the book.

“The six main characters in the book come from profoundly different backgrounds, and each one has been crafted intentionally using people I have met in my lifetime whose experiences I have woven into the storyline. Each character goes through significant development as the story progresses,” she said

“I consider myself to be a ‘goodwill ambassador to mankind’ which comes through in my books. In my opinion, rising to be the best human being one can become during one’s lifetime supersedes all other accomplishments. This is the theme of the book I am currently working on titled Friends to Mankind, a book which will honour people who have met life’s great challenges, overcome them and became stronger, resilient individuals for their experiences.”

Morrison’s book Radar the Rescue Dog was written at a time when she lived near the ski area of Whistler in B.C. It’s a book about common-sense safety, whose theme is to teach youngsters not to allow others to influence or bully them to make bad decisions in their daily life. Radar was a real-life black German shepherd and Whistler's first avalanche rescue dog.

Morrison is currently a teacher on staff at the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex (CGCEC), and in a notable coincidence, is now teaching the great-grandson of Francis Joseph Cote, a man who served in The Second World War with her own father. The two men befriended one another during their service to their country. Morrison intends to honour and celebrate their friendship in her new book.

She will remain at CGCEC for at least one more school year, and has been “enjoying living on the prairies where her ancestors had lived.” She had been raised in Vancouver.

After a question and answer session with the audience, those in attendance were able to enjoy tea served in delicate china cups and enjoy a selection of “scrumptious” home-made dainties, while enjoying an intimate conversation with Morrison as she autographed copies of her books for those who wished to purchase them.