One Book, One Niagara: Author to lead talk on trans identity, human connection

A Niagara-wide community reading initiative is set to culminate with an in-person author event next week at Brock University.  

One Book, One Niagara was launched in January in collaboration with the Brock University Library, Niagara’s 11 public libraries and other local partners to connect community members through the shared experience of reading. The selected title for the inaugural year is Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures by Ivan Coyote, an award-winning Canadian author, creator, storyteller and musician. 

Care Of is a collection of letters and correspondences Coyote has received from readers and audience members over the past several decades along with Coyote’s open and honest responses that touch on themes such as non-binary and transgender identity, compassion, empathy, family fragility and human connection. 

A grand finale event featuring a discussion by Coyote will take place in Brock’s Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Wednesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Niagara Community Foundation, the Writers’ Union of Canada and Meridian Credit Union, the free event is open to everyone. Reserve a spot via Eventbrite.

Book cover of Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures by Ivan Coyote.

The selected title for the inaugural One Book, One Niagara community-wide reading initiative is Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures by Ivan Coyote.

As part of the One Book, One Niagara initiative, the Brock University Library partnered with the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) to promote reading Care Of via the BUSU Book Club. An in-person and online discussion will take place Monday, March 20 from 6 to 7 p.m. in Classroom B of the Matheson Learning Commons. Students are asked to register via ExperienceBU. 

Public libraries across Niagara are also offering several related events open to the public. More information can be found on the One Book, One Niagara website.  

Brock Associate University Librarian Andrew Colgoni says One Book, One Niagara and its related events are important because they provide community members with a venue to come together to discuss topical and timely issues.

“Beyond One Book, One Niagara offering Brock students and employees the opportunity to connect with each other and Niagara community members around the joy of reading, the resulting discussions of this year’s title selection will touch on themes that are so important to living in a caring and compassionate society,” he says. 

“Ivan’s honest and intimate reflection on human connection and personal stories on gender identity, family, class and queer liberation reminds us of the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion, which is a strategic priority of Brock University.” 

Related to the book’s theme of letters and connection is a ‘passive postcard’ initiative, in which the public is invited to write messages on postcards that will be displayed on the walls leading to the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre the day of the grand finale author event and included as part of an exhibit in the Library’s display case in Thistle Complex hallway. Postcards are available at public libraries and the Brock University Library ‘Ask Us Desk’ in the Matheson Learning Commons. The postcard asks the question, ‘what makes you feel connected?’ 

Illustrating the longtime interest in human connection and compassion is a curated exhibit of antique letters from Brock’s Archives and Special Collections on display in the glass cabinets in the Matheson Learning Commons. 

In recognition of the book’s theme of non-binary and transgender identity, the Brock Library has created a collection of titles dedicated to transgender awareness and celebration. 

Copies of Care Of are available to borrow from the Brock University Library as well as the 11 public libraries across Niagara. 

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