March 28, 2013—Thirty prominent Canadian readers and writers are working together throughout April on the Page Turner campaign, to raise funds and awareness for Project Bookmark Canada. Each day in April, a different reading personality will lead the campaign, championing the cause to their fans and followers, and offering prize incentives to everyone who donates to the campaign that day. Page Turner champions include literary giant Margaret Atwood, Olympic marathoner Reid Coolsaet, singer-songwriter John K. Samson, and cartoonist Kate Beaton.
Project Bookmark Canada places text from stories and poems—on plaques, called Bookmarks—in the exact, physical locations where literary scenes take place. The charity has a total of 12 Bookmarks in three provinces, and envisions a national network of sites and stories so that residents and visitors can read their way right across Canada.
The campaign will be introduced on April 1 by Miranda Hill, Journey Prize-winning author of Sleeping Funny, who is also the founder and executive director of Project Bookmark Canada. Her appeal will be made via video, and distributed through Bookmark’s social media, as well as her personal and author pages and sites.
“The video is very homemade, something I put together with my nearly 14 year-old daughter, who was just an infant when Bookmark began,” says Hill. “It seems appropriate, because Project Bookmark Canada has always been a little organization with big aspirations. I’ve called it a ‘Mom and Pop shop,’ because our first installation was financed by funds from speaking engagements made by my husband, Lawrence Hill. That first Bookmark, unveiled in April, 2009 on Toronto's Bloor Viaduct, celebrates an unforgettable scene in Michael Ondaatje's In The Skin Of A Lion.”
“Now it’s time to turn the page for our charity, to create the funding and the infrastructure necessary to meet the rising demand from communities and readers for Bookmarks around the country. The Page Turner campaign will make Project Bookmark Canada an initiative that is not just for Canadian readers, but by Canadian readers,” says Hill.
The gist of the campaign is simple. For $20, less than the cost of the average paperback, Canadians can help create a tribute to Canadian’s sites and stories—for today’s readers and generations to come.
It’s an idea that’s certainly captured the imagination of broadcaster and book lover Shelagh Rogers, who will be championing the campaign on April 8th. "Project Bookmark Canada is creating a one-of-a-kind Canadian legacy. And this is our chance to help build it,” says Rogers. “I'm proud to help spread the word about this celebration of our stories and our land."
During the campaign, the names of each day’s donors will be entered into a draw to win a prize associated with that day’s champion. Rogers’ prize is an unusual one: a chance for the winner to turn the tables and conduct an interview with Rogers as the subject.
Great prizes have been donated for each day of the campaign. Kobo has contributed eReaders, The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry has offered tickets to their popular shortlist reading event in June, and publishers are donating books.
On April 9, Guy Gavriel Kay will make an appeal to his network, offering a copy of his much anticipated book, River of Stars, which will be released that week. But Kay says that the opportunity to win a prize is secondary, and suggests that the idea itself is inspirational.
"The Bookmarks don't honour military or political leaders from here or anywhere else. They recognize the writers and the narratives and the places. They tell anyone walking by that here, right here, something happened in a creative work. That this exact place plays a role in a work of art," says Kay. "How, seriously, would I have declined to participate? The cause is the reward."
Bookmark founder Miranda Hill hopes that people who hear about the campaign through the champions will be inspired too. “I’ve been talking about Project Bookmark Canada and our vision for almost 14 years, and there is nothing as satisfying as seeing people’s eyes light up at the idea. And then they want to know how they can help. Well, this is an easy way for a lot of people to make a big difference in Canada’s actual, and cultural, landscape.”
For more on how to donate to the Page Turner campaign stay tuned to http://projectbookmarkcanada.ca/ or follow Bookmark on Twitter—@BookmarkCanada, #PageTurner—and Facebook.
Project Bookmark Canada is a nationally registered charity, CRA #82725 7569 RR0001.
Miranda Hill, Founder and Executive Director
Project Bookmark Canada