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Valley Voices features award-winning Okanagan authors

Vernon and Penticton authors host live readings in first event of the season
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Frances Greenslade is a Penticton writer featured in Valley Voices Oct. 11 at the Bean Scene. (Stuart Bish photo)

It was clear last spring as authors read to a packed house, that the community is hungry for live readings, stories and poetry.

Organizer Michelle Doege says the first round of Valley Voices “surpassed my wildest expectations,” and showed the community desire for more.

So, Valley Voices returns for a second season, where award-winning Okanagan authors will read from their novels at the Bean Scene coffee house Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

Valley Voices launched last spring, featuring nine talented authors reading across the communities of Vernon, Kelowna and Summerland. This year, Valley Voices is ramping up for another great season of readings, adding Penticton to the list.

The first event will see captivating stories read by Natalie Appleton and Frances Greenslade. Both Greenslade and Appleton will bring to life bold female characters for us to imagine, be inspired by, on the backdrop of the B.C. wilderness and the Canadian prairies.

Greenslade’s novel, Red Fox Road, keeps us in suspense as a teenage girl is stranded on an old logging road in Oregon while her family is off seeking help. As the days pass, she is left to her survival strategies. In her sequel novel, Green Mountain Academy, the central character Francie is once again faced with a wilderness challenge when she escapes her boarding school amidst a treacherous B.C. blizzard to search members of a plane crash.

“I felt like I was writing to the younger me, the 13-year-old girl who daydreamed about being heroic, doing brave things,” said Greenslade of Penticton. “I would fill Hilroy scribblers with stories, usually mysteries, suspiciously like the Nancy Drew novels I was reading.”

Appleton’s latest novel in progress, I Want to Die in My Boots, takes us back 100 years to the unheard, outlaw women living on the Canadian prairies who brilliantly break every taboo. Throughout this innovative novel, she weaves together the real—newspaper clippings, lyrics, letters, and oral history—with the imagined, to bring these long-gone women to life.

What motivates Appleton, she says, is that “women of that time are written about by men, from men’s perspectives.” With her novels, she wants to “capture these unique women’s lives through their eyes and inner thoughts, offering a different depth to their experience.”

Appleton has published a memoir, I Have Something to Tell You, won awards for her poems, published a story in the New York Times, and now has two novels out and ready for publication. She also founded Read Local Okanagan, a pop up mini-bookstore selling books from only Okanagan authors. In her former life as a journalist, she worked at newspapers across the Prairies and at your own Vernon Morning Star.

Admission is free and refreshments, treats, and books will be available for purchase.

For more information, visit Valley Voices Okanagan on Facebook or Instagram.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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