For the third installment of this year’s Booked! Writer’s Series, author Raziel Reid will be speaking at the Fernie Heritage Library on Jan. 15.
Reid is known for his book When Everything Feels Like the Movies, which was released by Arsenal Pulp Press last year. The book has received wide critical acclaim and won the Governor General’s Literary Award for 2015, making Reid the youngest author to ever win the coveted prize. He won the award at just 25 years old.
When Everything Feels Like the Movies, which details the life of a homosexual teenager battling through high school, was not without controversy. As Angie Abdou, event organizer, said, that is part of the attraction to inviting Reid to speak.
“The national recognition was very exciting for debut novelist Raziel Reid. Things got more interesting, though, when Barbara Kay wrote, in a national newspaper, that Reid’s novel was an inappropriate choice for a Governor General’s Award. She argued that the book is pornographic and unworthy of such prestigious recognition and unsuitable for young readers. Writers and teachers and publishing people from all over the country rose to defend the book and spoke out against the kind of censorship implicit in Kay’s statement,” said Abdou.
The novel also made the shortlist for CBC’s Canada Reads contest, which heightened its visibility.
“For those CBC debates, the book was championed by the intelligent, feisty, and passionate Lainey Lui,” said Abdou. “With all that controversy and excitement, we couldn’t resist bringing Raziel to Fernie and so we too could be part of this heated conversation.”
Along with his talk in the evening, Reid will also be speaking to high school students at the library on Friday morning.
The event, which starts at 7 p.m., will also feature refreshments and entertainment from the Burn Ins.
Abdou said the other Booked! events have been well attended, and she hopes the same for the upcoming ones.
“The Fernie Heritage Library has had tremendous success with this year’s Booked! events. Both Christian Bok and Kara Stanley spoke to a full crowd. There were nearly 100 people in attendance for both events. Many of the audience members spoke about how inspiring and energizing they found the events and the writers. We’re lucky to be able to host such high-caliber literary events in such a small town,” said Abdou. “We expect Raziel Reid’s event to be equally enlightening, and then we’ll close the series off with a bang with the legendary Shelagh Rogers on April 8th.”