Categotry Archives: Out and about

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On making a difference, one brother at a time

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Last week, my brother Brian Bourke was presented with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in Waterloo, Ontario. Brian’s a broadcaster: the morning newsman and news director at a KOOL FM in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. For one week each fall for 17 years, he raised money for cancer research by living on and broadcasting from atop a billboard in the community. A fun event and a nice marketing payoff for the station, but also a very sincere attempt by an individual to make a personal difference. As someone in the public eye, Brian had a unique chance to help publicize a worthy cause, but the billboard campaign was only the most showy of the various causes he’s supported in his community. What impresses me about Brian is that he makes these contributions year after year, building up a solid collection of evidence that the efforts of one person can truly make a difference.

This year, 60,000 people in Canada received Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals for their contributions to their communities and to our country. Imagine the impact of one person’s effort, magnified 60,000 times. I’m proud of my brother and of the other 59,999 people who make Canada a wonderful country.

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Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

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I love sequels, especially ones with happy endings.

In 2006, I submitted a YA short story to the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival and was thrilled to be selected as one of the Fringe Readers for that year’s Festival. This was deeply encouraging to an as-yet-unpublished author! We Fringe Readers were included in the main events over the Festival weekend, and we were encouraged to get back in touch with the Festival when we became published authors.

With my novel scheduled for release this April, I did get back in touch with the Festival earlier this year. The happy ending to this story is that the organizers have invited me to read from Yesterday’s Dead on Sunday September 16 as part of the Young Adult area of the 2012 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival.

I’m very much looking forward to experiencing the Festival from a new viewpoint this year, and you can bet I’ll be encouraging the Fringe Readers to follow-up! For more information on the Festival, visit http://www.edenmillswritersfestival.ca/.

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Book Signing at Ontario Library Association Conference

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On Thursday February 2, I had an opportunity to sign advance reader copies of Yesterday’s Dead at the Ontario Library Association Conference held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It was quite thrilling, actually, since I’d never done that before! I enjoyed talking to the eager attendees who lined up to receive a signed copy at the Organization of Ontario Book Publishers’ booth. The teachers and librarians with whom I spoke were glad to see historical fiction set in Ontario as a support for the social studies curriculum in the middle grades and even for the history curriculum in high school. (A Grade 10 history project was mentioned by more than one teacher!)