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Winners enjoy the spoils of their "Grey County Reads" victories

Sharon Sinclair winner of Grey County Reads

Poet and author Sharon Sinclair holds her winning plaque.



On Monday, March 12, Crow Lake by Mary Lawson was announced as this year's winner of Grey County Reads, a county-wide literacy program involving all seven Grey County library boards. Poet and author Sharon Sinclair successfully advocated for the book, one of five Canadian-authored titles chosen for the contest.

Author Mary Lawson was overjoyed to hear news of her book's selection. "Crow Lake was my first book and was written out of 35 years of homesickness for Canada," she explained  from her home in England where she has lived since 1968. She continued, "To know that it is still being enjoyed by people at home means a great deal to me. To be chosen as Grey County Reads' first winner is both an honour and a real thrill, especially given the strength of the competition!" She expressed her heartfelt appreciation "to all those who voted for the book, and in particular to Sharon Sinclair for her eloquent advocacy."

Although Sinclair admitted that while she was not an avid reader, Grey County Reads got her truly excited about Canadian Literature. "I now plan to make these books a priority," she said, referring to the other titles in the contest. Her win follows a busy year, serving as Grey Highlands Poet Laureate, attending and facilitating many events and editing a 480 page commemorative book of stories Grey with a Silver Lining: Tributes to Grey Highlands for Canada 150. Somehow, she found the time to get involved, putting many of her regular pursuits as poet, author, teacher and inspirational speaker on pause to bring her chosen book to victory.

Sinclair eagerly watched events unfold from her winter getaway in Panama City, Florida, regularly posting on Facebook, shooting a video-selfie from the balcony of her condo, and earnestly cheering for her own book as well as the others in the contest. "It showed the importance of social connections as friends rallied behind my book," she said, adding "I'm so grateful for all the support it received." Sinclair also expressed admiration for the other local celebrity panelists and their Canadian book submissions.

As the inaugural winner of Grey County Reads, Sinclair was awarded with a plaque and $100 worth of gift certificates to some great local Grey County restaurants including The Bicycle Café, Garafraxa Café, Harley's Pub & Perk and Queen's Bush Pub.

Sinclair recently returned from her trip down south, finding inspiration in the warmth and beauty of the sun-kissed Florida coastline, and plans to follow up her 2017 CD Carpe Diem Chronicles: Sunrise Reflections, a compilation of poetic reflections inspired by her time in nearby Fairhope, Alabama, with a sequel CD entitled Carpe Diem Chronicles: Rising from the Falls, a collection of inspirational poems borrowing from the natural beauty of local Grey County waterfalls to tell stories of rising up from the depths and facing the many challenges of life.

While Sinclair and her book Crow Lake took first prize, it edged out The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, defended by West Grey Councillor Rebecca Hergert in the final playoff. Over 1,000 votes were cast, 1,100 to be exact, over the course of the contest and voters were given the opportunity to cast their votes on behalf of a local Grey County library. In the closest of margins, West Grey Library earned the most votes and received a voucher for $200 worth of books courtesy of Speaking Volumes Books and Audio in Flesherton.

west grey library ceo Kim Storz 

West Grey Library CEO and Chief Librarian Kim Storz proudly holds the winning library voucher.


Kim Storz, CEO and Chief Librarian for West Grey Library was excited to learn about the victory. "Our customers really like to support Canadian books," said Storz as she accepted her prize, adding that the contest did a fabulous job of promoting these five Grey County Reads books as evidenced by their popularity, often with waiting lists filled for each of the titles.

"We had people coming in on Mondays to update us on the week's results," she said, with some expressing good-natured disappointment as West Grey celebrity residents Jenny Parsons and Rebecca Hergert were eliminated from the competition.

Three lucky voters were also chosen at random to receive gift certificates from Speaking Volumes Books and Audio including Michael McLuhan of Georgian Hills ($50), Hazel Welechenko of Hanover ($30) and Muriel Stewart of Flesherton ($20).

As the voting process has come to an end, the post-contest wrap-up continues on Watch for more insights and review of the books and celebrities in the weeks to come.

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Catherine Miller commented on 22-Mar-2018 09:28 AM5 out of 5 stars
delightfully informative, full coverage, well written...shining the light on a community-building initiative that also raised awareness of 5 excellent Canadian authored books.

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