Photo: Ming Kai Leung

Photo: Ming Kai Leung

In 2013, Doretta Lau was a finalist for the 25th annual Journey Prize, now awarded by the Writers' Trust of Canada and McClelland & Stewart. The story that was short-listed was "How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?" which the jury called "...a sometimes provocative portrait of adolescent angst and rebellion set among a gang of 'dragoons' growing up in Vancouver. [A story] as vibrant and colourful as graffiti." 

As today's Page Turner Champion, Doretta tells us how she's travelled extensively in Canada, through the words of the country's writers. Join Doretta as a Page Turner today and you could add to your imaginary itinerary, twice over. Donate today and you are eligible to win Doretta's new collection of stories, How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? and the 25th edition of The Journey Prize Anthology -- the book that has launched the careers of many of Canada's favourite writers. What are you waiting for? Get on board...

I have travelled to more places in Canada via books than I have in reality. As a child, I spent months lingering in L. M. Montgomery's Prince Edward Island with her heroines Anne and the Story Girl. I traipsed through Saskatchewan courtesy of Farley Mowat and his book Owls in the Family. I often returned to the lake cottage depicted in Kit Pearson's A Handful of Time and I knew the store in Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang as well as the 7-11 down the street from my childhood home in Burnaby, British Columbia. As an adult, I have only spent a single evening in Montreal, but I have devoted weeks to Mavis Gallant's stories set in that city. Though I’ve been to Toronto several times over the years, I know Ontario much better through the work of Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje.

When I finally visited Prince Edward Island, I was in my twenties. Still, I demanded that we stop at Green Gables. I drove across Confederation Bridge giddy at the thought of seeing the landscape that influenced Lucy Maud Montgomery. My friend did not want to pay the entrance fee—she had not read the books—so I roamed the house and the grounds alone and imagined that Anne was somewhere just around the corner. At that moment, I was no different from a Twilight fan visiting Forks, Washington, and dreaming of Edward or Jacob. I recognized the thrill of seeing a location from a book in person.

This is why I am a Page Turner and supporter of Project Bookmark Canada. If you donate $20.00, you can help make the next Bookmark possible. You’ll also eligible to win a copy of my short story collection, How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? and a copy of the 25th Anniversary edition of The Journey Prize Anthology.

My understanding of Canada is rich because our country’s writers are willing to write about the landscape and locales of their daily lives. As Canadians, we must acknowledge that our stories are worth telling and the settings worth memorializing. If we do not celebrate Canada and Canadian literature, who will?

Comment