by Hughena Matheson, board member
Project Bookmark Canada

Dear editor,
Canada, well-known as land of beautiful trails, also has a trail that is a one-of-a-kind cultural innovation. Unique in the world, Canada’s literary trail consists of plaques with poems or excerpts from fiction in the exact physical locations where literary scenes are set.
Author Miranda Hill came up with this idea while walking in the places the authors of the books she was reading wrote about. She wanted readers to step right into the stories, experiencing the authors’ visions and the real locales simultaneously.

She imagined that someday, we would be able to read our way across Canada.

Over a decade ago, she founded Project Bookmark Canada whose role is to acknowledge our writers with these plaques or Bookmarks. So far there are 20 Bookmarks across the country from Newfoundland to British Columbia. I invite readers to take a virtual trip along this trail at: projectbookmarkcanada.ca.

Northerners will be disappointed. The most northerly part of the trail is in Sudbury, Ont..

The “True” North does not have a Bookmark. From my contact with a very active book club in Yellowknife and with your librarians, I know the North is rich in storytellers.

Project Bookmark invites you readers to celebrate your storytellers by blazing the literary trail in your part of the country.

As you collect books for summertime reading, include local authors. You may meet one of these writers at the NorthWords Festival this weekend. Librarians can help by making lists of writers whose stories are set in your communities.

One writer may take you to the exact spot for a Bookmark. Once you find this location and a suitable excerpt, you simply fill out the suggestion form at our website. The excerpt from fiction or poetry may be up to 500 words. The excerpt should make the reader wonder what came before and what comes next so that they will want to read the whole book.

I hope you readers share my optimism that Canada’s literary trail will be expanding farther north.

Bookmark’s banner includes a quote from author Anne Michaels “Where we stand there is a story.” Northerners, where you stand, there is a story. Let’s add that place to Canada’s literary trail.

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