Marissa Stapley and Linden MacIntyre at the Grimsby Author Series

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Making connections with Marissa Stapley and Linden MacIntyre

Before the doors open for the final Fall 2019 Grimsby Author Series, volunteers gather at the entrance to discuss what they are reading. The conversations shift from book-inspired goods available at the new Library Marketplace to the release of the Spring 2020 author line-up.

Linda Caldwell, like many others, is a regular to the series. Gesturing to the large crowd immediately behind her, she says, “Many of us are from out of town but we continue to come back because you can’t beat this series. It is very enlightening with all of the different authors they are able to bring in.” Caldwell and her group continue to buzz as they make their way to their prime seats at the front of the room—a tradition they are eager to continue in the Spring.

 

Marissa Stapley

Our first author of the night, Marissa Stapley, begins her talk by giving us a peek into her process. She unapologetically claims, “I am really good at titles,” because in order to get her novels moving, the title needs to fully encompass the story. Her statement tests true in The Last Resort. Here, a rigorous couples’ therapy retreat takes place at the luxurious Harmony Resort in the Mayan Riviera. While the setting appears rich and vibrant, the reader is surely consumed by the secrets that burden and bind each character. Stapley creates an atmospheric and timely backdrop. Her characters must face not only the secrets of their own marriage but also the unknown darkness of the people they have entrusted to care for them in the midst of a devastating hurricane.

Last May, actor Katherine Heigl posted a photo of herself reading The Last Resort. When asked about this occasion, Stapley easily replies, “Well, she hasn’t returned any of my calls,” the simple banter lifting laughs throughout the room. Effortless wit is laced throughout Marissa Stapley’s time at the Grimsby Author Series podium. She is currently working on her next novel which is expected to come in at over one thousand pages.

 

Linden MacIntyre

Ninety years ago to the day (November 18) at 5:02pm Newfoundland standard time, the Burin Peninsula faced a massive tsunami, caused by an underwater earthquake, whose aftershock was felt for years afterward. This story, scarcely heard of throughout Canadian History, is Linden MacIntyre’s tale to tell. At the age of 101, his mother helped him to fill in the details on his newest work The Wake. How? She was there.

As MacIntyre recounts the devastating repercussions of the tsunami that continued to wreak havoc on the small fishing villages, his connection to the story and its characters is acknowledged with sorrowful ease. Misfortune brings the outports into mining, followed by radioactive-related illnesses, virtually disintegrating the foreseeable future of the town. The Wake paints the history of a region that has been shattered and rebuilt more than once. While the content of his work is chock-full of ailment, grief, and struggle, it is also illuminated by humour and the natural resilience of humankind. As the night rolls on MacIntyre settles into his true Newfoundland style as he keeps the crowd in stitches with each sentence ending in “b’y” or “eh.”

This evening had an exciting highlight for McIntyre when he happened to spot a familiar face among the crowd. In the 1980s John Sudac was a Toronto landlord who formerly rented an apartment to the Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author— Linden in turn went on to use Sudac’s name to portray a rugged personality in his novel, The Bishop’s Man. As the two men reminisce it offers a reminder of the community that has been brought to fruition over the past 18 years of the Grimsby Author Series.

 

A big thank you to our authors Marissa Stapley and Linden MacIntyre for portraying tales that mirror the chaos of natural disasters. We were elated to have them stay afterwards to sign copies of their books and take photos with guests. A thank you to Laurie Petrou for coming by in support of the event!

 

Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the evening which included exceptional donations from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, The Good Earth Food and Wine Company and  Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A special thanks to these contributors as well as The Peanut Mill, and Monique Mulder-Wallace Pottery for providing our guest speakers with such lovely gifts, as well as our wine sponsor for the evening, Trius Winery. Lastly, an enormous thank you to Epic Books of Hamilton for coming to sell books! Additional signed copies can be found in-store.

With an abundance of diverse genres, the Spring 2020 series is bound to sell out quickly. Tickets are now on sale at eventbrite.com and at the library.

This post was written and the photos were taken by the Grimsby Author Series’ fabulous volunteer blogger, Teanne Teeft. Thanks Teanne!

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Shandi Mitchell and Terry Fallis at the Grimsby Author Series

Terry and Shandi

A heartfelt evening with Shandi Mitchell & Terry Fallis

Guests pour in and to take their seats as the doors open for the second event of our Fall season. It is almost ritualistic as groups of friends, long-time attendees, and newcomers hustle to take up the seats they have claimed as their own. This past Monday, we welcomed Shandi Mitchell and Terry Fallis to the Grimsby Author Series. The night dives into its full swing as supporters mingle around wine and charcuterie boards. Guests were in the Halloween spirit—the mini chocolate bars are the first to disappear from the table. Supporters Janet Oko and Janet Duncan have been attending the series for years and extend their love of books by attending other series in the area. This event will be their second time seeing Terry Fallis this week. “He’s so enthralling!” says Oko. Duncan nods along, “We are very pleased with the line-up this season.”

Shandi Mitchell

Shandi Mitchell is an author and filmmaker. Her newest work, The Waiting Hours, binds together the lives of three individuals whose job it is to rescue strangers. In particular, a trauma nurse, a police officer, and a 911 dispatcher. Mitchell admits to writing about “the courage of the everyday,” and poses the question: how do we keep going through the storms? Whether it is mentally, physically or emotionally, the theme of being lost and found permeates her work.

While reading a passage from her novel, she speaks as if reciting poetry while she maps the daily routines she has instilled in her characters. Mitchell traces the unraveling bonds that are holding these people together as the fateful epoch approaches.

“Where did it all begin?” she asks herself, anticipating this question from the audience. Her answer being, “I don’t know. Maybe police scanners, maybe dreaming of answering 911 calls, maybe feeling like a first responder in [her] own life, taking in the exposure, a myriad really.” These infinite signs led to further exploration. When researching for the book, Mitchell was granted access to ride-alongs, listening in on 911 calls, and individual interviews with first responders, allowing the shape of each character to form from real experiences. She knew she was able to move forward with the novel when the response she received to the question, “Did I catch something here?” was welcomed with overwhelming compassion from the first responders she was working with.

Terry Fallis

When Terry Fallis takes the stage, it is evident why he has been a finalist and winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour more than once. This season will mark the 5th appearance of Fallis at the GAS and we could not be happier to welcome him back for the release of his newest fiction, Albatross. Host Ken Boichuk jokes, “his first novel was at the age of 45, there is still hope for us!”

This novel employs humour to deliberate the misconception around success equaling happiness. Fallis makes an honest attempt to uncover a fable or moral in his writing to send his readers back into the real world with. Albatross, through authentic inward reflection, displays what it means to forge your own path.

The main character, Adam Coryell is a high school student with an obsession of fountain pens who, due to the study of a Swedish professor, quickly turns into a golf prodigy. However, the acceleration of Adam’s stardom is jaded because of his disdain towards his new-found talent. Adam goes so far as to say, “Truthfully, I was more excited about driving the cart than I was about playing my first official round of golf.” Fallis engulfs the audience as he discusses his aversion to research, hence his choice of golf, a sport he avidly plays. There are chuckled whispers throughout the crowd as he gears up to read by opening the cover and beginning, “Now, let me read you the first half of the novel.”
Terry Fallis ended our evening by revealing that his beloved character Angus McLintock and narrator Daniel Addison are expected to make their return in 2021 in a comic thriller!

A big thank you to our authors Shandi Mitchell and Terry Fallis for sharing their novels and discussing the ever-present hope of finding oneself. We were thrilled to have them speak and stay afterwards to sign copies of their books.

Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the evening which included exceptional donations from our sponsors  Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A special thanks to these contributors as well as Monique Mulder-Wallace Pottery  for presenting our guest speakers with such lovely gifts, as well as our wine sponsor for the evening, The Good Earth Food and Wine Co. Lastly, an enormous thank you to Epic Books of Hamilton for coming to sell books and your commitment to this event!

This post was written and the photos were taken by the Grimsby Author Series’ fabulous volunteer blogger, Teanne Teeft. Thanks Teanne!

Want another Grimsby Author Series fix? Join us on Friday, January 17, 2020 for our special At the Library event with Cynthia Loyst! Tickets on sale now / $40
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Charlotte Gray and Emma Donoghue at the Grimsby Author Series

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This past Monday we kicked off the 18th annual Grimsby Author Series! We were delighted to launch our highly anticipated Fall 2019 season with authors Charlotte Gray and Emma Donoghue. It was so exciting to see another full house out for a fantastic night of books, wine and great conversation. Reflecting on the nearly two decades we have been running the Series, it’s great to see how the number of attendees has increased since the early days at Grimsby’s old pump house. From its beginning, sponsor Sue Tallman remembers “how cozy and intimate it was. There was only a handful of us then.” 18 years later, the series has grown with care and commitment resulting in 250 tickets purchased this last season within 48-hours for another sold out program. “I need to stop telling people—I can’t save anymore seats!” says Rita Cipriani who, along with her partner Tony, attended the evening in a group with over a dozen guests.

Many of those who come to the Author Series stumbled upon it by chance while checking out books at the Grimsby Public Library. Jane Scholer, who has been a faithful supporter of the series for five years made the discovery in just that manner. “This event has changed the way I read, I now ask questions as I read a book that I never would have thought to ask before,” says Scholer. Each guest has their own agenda for why they attend the Grimsby Author Series, and we are so grateful to our community. Without the never-ending demand, the Series would not be the colossal success that it is today, with all funds supporting programming, collections, services and special events of the Grimsby Public Library.

Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s most-loved writers of history. Along with her talent of delving into the past, Gray has honed the practice of merging genres to fulfill the audience’s demand of historical murder mystery. In doing so, her research and tenacity has successfully incorporated women back into Canada’s history. In her newly released work of non-fiction, Murdered Midas, Gray dives into Canada’s mining past while painting the menacing landscape upon which the murder of Sir Harry Oakes takes place. With only four sentences of archival material containing the voice of Oakes, Gray relied on multiple former research outlets and historians to capture a glimpse of her main character and develop him though other people’s perceptions.

When facing questions from the audience regarding the shady past of Sir Harry Oakes, Gray does not waver in her ability to present historical accuracy; the satisfaction of the audience accomplished. The Grimsby Author Series is proud to have finally welcomed Charlotte Gray upon the launch of her most recent book.

Emma Donoghue

September 2016, Emma Donoghue attended the Grimsby Author Series with her novel The Wonder. We are ecstatic to welcome her back three years later with her new release, Akin. Although, as she blatantly admits, she might only be back for one of the Series’ signature handmade mugs… Either way, we are honoured to bask as she speaks with an engaging cadence. Donoghue, eager to educate in all facets of her life, brings together two unlikely characters as they learn to bridge their generational gap. Noah Selvaggio, an 80-year-old widower, and Michael, his 11-year-old great nephew must come together as they maneuver through arduous family discoveries. Donoghue herself concedes that Noah derives from her own aged soul, possibly with a few more naps.

Donoghue colourfully illustrates each character and demonstrates why the movie made from her novel Room was awarded Best Motion Picture in 2016, and why in the Spring of 2020 it will also make its way to the Canadian stage as a theatrical production.

Thank you

Thank you to Charlotte Gray and Emma Donoghue for sharing their phenomenal work with us and remaining afterwards to sign copies. Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night which included outstanding donations from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Thank you to all of these contributors along with The Peanut Mill, and Monique Mulder-Wallace Pottery for providing our guest speakers with their lovely gifts, as well as our wine sponsors for the evening, Malivoire Wine Company. Last but not least, a huge thank you to Epic Books of Hamilton for coming to sell books!

This post was written and the photos were taken by the Grimsby Author Series new volunteer blogger Teanne Teeft. Thanks for all your hard work and welcome to the GAS family!

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July Book Reviews | Grimsby Library Summer Raffle

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We received over 150 submissions in our July summer reading raffle! Here are just some of the mini-reviews you left us on the ballots. Get some reading inspiration from your fellow library-goers below, and find most of them in the library’s online catalogue. Thanks to everyone who participated and contributed!

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
“A good-paced, easy-to-read and follow mystery. Great for summer!” – M.C

Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan 
“Lives up to the hype. Great artwork by Fiona Staples from Alberta.” – D.F.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover
“Such a cute book. I can’t believe this is her debut! It’s perfect. Has romance, but not to steamy.. lots of tragedy and drama. I know I’m biased because I love CoHo books so much but this one was just too cute and I loved the ending” – A.B.

Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson
“An absolute page-turner. If you enjoy a thriller, with a bit of history thrown in, this is for you.” – S.D.

The Summer of Sunshine by Susan Mallery
“Light, predictable but engaging book about fraternal twin women finding love in unusual places” – D.F.

The Moon and Back by Karen Kingsbury
“Love story about 2 people who lost their parents in the Oklahoma City bombing” – J.V.

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
“A book about family and friendship. How important it is to trust and share your stories. My first time reading this author – won’t be the last!” – J.M.

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina MacDonald
“A good paced, easy-to-read and follow mystery. Great for summer!” – M.C.

In a Cottage in a Wood by Cass Green
“Its about a woman who stumbles upon a bungalow in the woods and the house quickly becomes her worst nightmare” – M.G

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner
“Family brought together by DNA ancestry kit. Beach house in Provincetown brings them together.” – M.M.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
“How to combat shame and feeling life we are “never enough”. Very inspiring self-help book!” – E.N.

Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
A wonderful book that gives you a glimpse of what its like to be a Muslim in today’s world, especially a visible Muslim woman. Also loved the way the love story played out. Had me craving to read more and more. I didn’t want it to end!” – A.H.

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys
“A great summer read. An unexpected inheritance leads Eve to uncover family ties, end her marriage and become a different, stranger person.” – D.F.

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston
“Good book. A bit of magic.” – P.B.

Cafe by the Sea by Laura Dave
“Wonderful story about the isles of Scotland.” – S.B.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
“Wow! The ending was amazing! A girl goes missing. 12 years later she reappears… or does she?” – J.M

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
“Not her best book. Enjoyed the first half, but got a bit unrealistic toward the end.” – K.M
“A group of strangers went to a “luxury” retreat, but found out the woman running it is crazy and drugging them. It was very far-fetched” – M.H.

The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong
“Best non-fiction I’ve read this year. Scary, educational, mind-boggling and totally fascinating. Loved it and learned such a lot!” – S.D.

Passionate Readers by Pernille Ripp
“One teacher’s story about teaching kids to read versus teaching kids to love reading.” – J.C.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
“Rothfuss creates a magical world, in-depth characters and riveting plot lines. Couldn’t put it down” – T.A.

I’ll Push You by Patrick Gray
“Loved this inspirational story of true friendship and life challenges.”

I Found You by Lisa Jewell
“Good story. Suspenseful” – P.B.

Under the Table by Janet Evanovich
“Funny, a good summer read.” – P.W.

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
“This book encourages girls to believe they can change the world. Stop living in fear of being judged for who they are and embrace achieving their goals” – L.W.

The Runaway by Harlan Coben
“Suspenseful, intriguing, well written. A “can’t put it down.” – L.A.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
“Loved it! A little romance, a little history and a bunch of mystery!” – C.D.

At the Mountain’s Edge by Genevieve Graham
“Interesting read set in the Yukon during the Gold Rush” – M.F.

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson
“A legal thriller that keeps you guessing!” – D.F.

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
“The ultimate book on all things yoga! A great place for me to start on my dream to be a yoga teacher.” – H.B.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
“Amazing and twisted story. Suspenseful from beginning to end.” – T.B.

Judas by Astrid Holleeder
“Astrid’s Brother Will was a famous criminal who made life unbearable for his family until Astrid got the courage to testify against him” – A.G.

Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir
“A new twist on the tragic life of Katherine of Aragon. Excellent insight into her persona.” – N.S.

Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words by Kimberly Harrington
“A fun and lighthearted novel about the trials and tribulations of motherhood and working in/outside the home.” – J.J.

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath
“Too dark and disturbing for me. Wouldn’t want these people as friends.” – D.F.

Explorers of the Nile by Tim Teal
“A fascinating account of 19th century explorers such as Stanley and Livingtone, and the hardships they endured as they searched for the source of the Nile.” – A.S.

 

 

 

 

Fun at the 2019 Phelps Homes Building Literacy Fair! / Grimsby Library

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What a wonderful afternoon at the annual Phelps Homes Building Literacy Fair at the Grimsby Public Library! Last Friday, June 7 the library is threw open its doors to the community for this fun event chocked full of family friendly activities and games. Kids played inside and outside the library as they made their way through our amazing Play Project Parkour course, played giant board games and got creative with chalk graffiti nearby. They planted seeds, painted story stones, hunted for letters in slime, read-along a story walk, tried their hand at knitting, learned about sport safety with author Sue Irwin and how to recycle with Waste Management Niagara, experienced green screen magic with nature-themed photo shoots, watched balloon twisting, read with the Therapy Tails Dogs dogs, and so much more!

The Phelps Homes Building Literacy Fair also marks the launch of kids summer programming at the Library, so everyone got to take home information and newsletters about the TD Summer Reading Club for children ages 0-12 and the R.E.A.D. summer tutoring program. Thanks to Phelps Homes Ltd. for once again generously sponsoring this library event! Check out photos from this event below:

Event photos

This event is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Phelps Homes, Ltd. and the participation of many organizations in our community, including: Waste Management Niagara, Sue IrwinNiagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Fun School of Music, Nelles Manor, Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Play Project ParkourLiteracy and Mathematics Academy, Niagara Children’s Centre, Therapy Tails Dogs, and Needlecrafters Club.

Two-time Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan visits the Grimsby Author Series

Last Wednesday, May 1, was the last night of the spring 2019 Grimsby Author Series and we were thrilled and honoured to bring to our stage two-time Scotia Bank Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan. We couldn’t think of a better way to finish the season, and as guests rushed in the doors, met up with friends and grabbed a sample glass of Pengo Pally Saison Beer from Bush Pilot Craft Brewery, we knew it was going to be a night to remember.

This event saw our guest author Esi Edugyan sitting down in conversation with Grimsby’s own local author Laurie Petrou, which is a bit of different format than what we are used to at the Series. From the moment these two authors sat down across from each other it was clear this discussion was going to allow us to dig a little deeper than usual. In responding to Laurie’s thoughtful questions and keen insights, Esi provided us with an in-depth glimpse into how her Giller Prize winning book Washington Black was written and how it feels to be nationally recognized twice for the most prestigious literary fiction award in Canada.

We discovered Esi’s love of research and interest in historical science, practices and instruments, and how this shows up in the beautiful details of her books. We learned that Washington Black, while directly dealing with topics of racism and subjugation, is really a story of the psychology of the people experiencing it, from either side, and the real human consequences when massive societal change alter the rules. We heard about how she felt about her main characters, and what she was trying to convey to the reader with the choices they make or the questions they ask. Esi’s writing style is deeply engrossing and the way she explores these weighty topics leaves the reader with a important and unique perspective. Capped off with a reading from the book and many questions from the audience, this evening was truly special and a perfect end to the spring Grimsby Author Series.

Thanks so much to both authors for visiting the Series and having this wonderful discussion with us, and to Esi for sharing her book and staying afterwards to sign copies for eager fans. Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night which included fabulous items from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A big thank you to all of these contributors, and to The Peanut Mill, tMac Pottery and Bush Pilot Craft Brewery for providing our guest speakers with their wonderful gifts, and to Epic Books of Hamilton for coming to sell books!

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Shelley Wood and Andrew Pyper at the Grimsby Author Series

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Last Monday we hit the mid-season mark of the Spring 2019 Grimsby Author Series. On this sunny spring evening we were so delighted to welcome our two guests, Shelley Wood and Andrew Pyper, to the Casablanca Winery Inn. Our wine sponsor for the evening, Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, provided delectable selections for us to sample from their Fancy Farm Girl line including their rich Flamboyant Red and their crisp and fruity Frissonesque Sauvignon Blanc. With a great glass of wine in hand, a packed house and two amazing authors, we knew it was going to be a night to remember!

Shelley Wood

Shelley Wood was up first and provided the audience with a heartfelt reading from her new novel The Quintland Sisters. Beautifully written, expertly researched and now a national bestseller, this book is a fictionalized account of the 1934 Dionne Quintuplet sensation. The story of 5 girls born on a single night to one woman blew up all over national and international media, and turned their lives into a spectacle. Reading the news clippings and accounts from the time, you find that they are all from the harsh perspective of a spectator; someone from the outside looking in. Shelley wanted to shift that lens to by creating a character who was an insider, someone who loves these kids for who they are, and not for the exhibition they became. What follows is not only an account of the first few years of the quintuplets’ lives, but the beautiful coming-of-age story of Emma, the fictional nurse Shelley created to love and take care of them. As she writes in her private journals, Emma gives us a view into the madness, heartache and human element that is often left out of the public story.

Andrew Pyper

Up next we welcomed Andrew Pyper for his fifth time at the Grimsby Author Series to speak about his chilling latest novel The Homecoming. It is a book about family secrets and false memories. It is one of those stories that you think you have pegged from the beginning, only to have the author skillfully pull the rug out from under you with a completely unexpected twist. Andrew’s writing skills build palpable tension while weaving a complex yet page-turning narrative. In The Homecoming, the reader along with the characters themselves think they know the whole story. For the characters, what unfolds is their terrifying and shocking realization that everything they ever thought to be true about their family, is not. Andrew is a prolific writer in an industry saturated with thriller novels, but over and over again he finds a way to break the mold, and this book is no different. His writing is as sharp as his delivery on stage is hilarious, and we’ll welcome him back any time. Go Leafs go!

 

Thanks so much to Shelley and Andrew for sharing their wonderful books with us and staying afterwards to sign copies for eager fans. Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night which included fabulous items from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A big thank you to all of these contributors, and to The Peanut Mill, tMac Pottery and Trius Winery for providing our guest speakers with their wonderful gifts, and to Epic Books of Hamilton for being coming to sell books!

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