Province-wide reading program lands a big one

Manitobans have selected Jake MacDonald’s novel Juliana and the Medicine Fish as this year’s featured book for On the Same Page, a province-wide reading initiative. The announcement was made today at a press conference at FortWhyte Alive.

“It is an honour to be mysteriously plucked out of the hundreds of books that are produced now in this province, to be part of this event,” says author Jake MacDonald. “Sometimes, stories, you feel like you have to make them up, sometimes you’re just a delivery boy. With this story I really just felt like the story arrived on my plate fully formed and all I had to do was write it down.  Maybe I was just a vehicle for this story and maybe that’s one of the reasons it seems to work so well.”

On the Same Page, a project of The Winnipeg Foundation and Winnipeg Public Library, encourages all Manitobans to read, and talk about, the same book at the same time. The program includes book giveaways, author appearances and special events to take place early in 2011.

“Libraries have always been great places to find a book and On the Same Page is a great way to get people reading,” says Rick Walker, Manager, Winnipeg Public Library. “Manitoba’s biggest book club keeps getting better each year! With generous funding from our partner, The Winnipeg Foundation, we look forward to hosting a series of events designed to encourage all Manitobans to read the same book and share the same story.”

First published in 1997, Juliana and the Medicine Fish was a finalist for Ontario’s Silver Birch Award, BC’s Red Cedar Award, and the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award. The coming of age story about a girl dealing with her parents’ divorce is set at a rustic fishing lodge and includes themes of Aboriginal history and spirituality. It was one of four titles shortlisted for the 2010-11 On the Same Page program and garnered the most selections through online and in-person voting between June and October.

“On the Same Page promotes reading, life-long literacy, local artists, and community building,” says Rick Frost, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation. “We’re very pleased to partner with Winnipeg Public Library on this initiative.”

On the Same Page was launched in 2008 and has featured In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Mosionier and Reading by Lightning, by Joan Thomas. For information, visit www.OnTheSamePage.ca 

Media inquiries may be directed to the City of Winnipeg Media Inquiry Line at (204) 986-6000 or via email at [email protected]