Emma Dressler, the library director at the Fernie Heritage Library, holds a stack of books from author Steven Heighton, who is the featured writer for the first in-person Booked! event in the library space since COVID. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

Emma Dressler, the library director at the Fernie Heritage Library, holds a stack of books from author Steven Heighton, who is the featured writer for the first in-person Booked! event in the library space since COVID. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

‘Really excited’: in-person Booked! events at Fernie library are back

The event will feature a conversation between authors Steven Heighton and Angie Abdou

The first in-person Booked! event at the Fernie Heritage Library since COVID is taking place Thursday (Dec. 2) evening.

Emma Dressler, library director, said the 9-years-running book talk series has been happening virtually since the pandemic began. They had one in-person event with author Jon Turk this year, but it took place at the Senior Drop-in Centre.

Thursday at 7 p.m. will be the first night that the library formally opens its doors to guests to listen to a conversation between long-time series facilitator Angie Abdou and their guest, author Steven Heighton.

READ MORE: ‘Real treat’: Author, poet Steven Heighton to speak in Fernie

“It’s a really important program for us at the library, because it’s a way of introducing members of the community to Canadian authors,” Dressler said, adding that they’re really fortunate because they have had great support from the community since the series began.

Abdou is an accomplished author in her own right, and does a lot of preparation before events, allowing them to get into a “deeper level of conversation.”

“It’s not a superficial conversation. You end up with something that feels quite intimate and quite lovely,” Dressler said.

Thursday’s event will be limited due to COVID-19. In the past, events would feature appetizers, a live band, and a bar. They would usually bring in 50 to 100 people. It was like a social night out, Dressler said.

The upcoming event will not have appetizers, music, or cocktails, and will be limited to 30 guests. But chit-chatting and socializing can still take place.

Patty Reedyk, owner of Polar Peek Books & Treasures, will be present as always with copies of the featured authors’ works.

Dressler expressed that the quality of the authors that Booked! brings in is pretty high considering the size and relative remoteness of Fernie. Abdou has connections, she said.

“It’s pretty amazing. I’m not exaggerating. The fact is, we do get some unbelievable writers here.”

After Christmas, they hope for Booked! evenings to get back to their normal, pre-COVID state.

Dressler wanted to give a huge thanks the event’s sponsors, which include individual donors in the community, Teck, and Park Place Lodge, the latter of which Dressler said has done a “brilliant” job accommodating authors.

Proof of vaccination and photo ID will be required to enter. The event will be streamed on Zoom and a recording will be posted to Facebook, reads the event description on eventbrite.ca under the name “Booked! Fernie Writers’ Series Presents: Steven Heighton.” Tickets are free.

“We have a lovely chance for people just to go in, you think about something in a different way, or you’ve laughed, or you’ve been somewhat inspired.”

“We’re really excited that we’re having it again.”

READ MORE: Jon Turk’s last book explores Kenya and big questions


@fishynewswatch
josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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