Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 17, 2024
20° Light Rainshower
April 10, 2024
Volume 194 No. 14

Reading the Room

The gloves come off come April 18
<p>(Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
(Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Five contestants, each with five minutes. A secret ballot. Only one person — or book — can win. 

County Reads returns the evening of April 18. Described as literature crossed with politics and sport, it’s the local take on the Canada Reads program, but instead of taking weeks it all unfolds in one exciting night. After every presenter has explained why their choice should be top of your list, everyone votes and a  champion is declared.

Local author, teacher and CountyFM contributor Ken Murray returns to moderate his ninth County Reads Debate. He counselled presenters to hold their key points close to the vest, so as not to give much away before the big night. 

The competitors

Roz Bound One of two published poets in this year’s field, the retired teacher defends Superfan: How Pop Culture Broke My Heart by Jen Sookfong Lee. Described as a “memoir-in-pieces,” the essay collection uses pop culture to detail the experiences of the author, a Chinese-Canadian woman.

“It’s the little book that could,” said Ms. Bound secretively. “Its much deeper than I ever expected it to be.” 

Andrew Binks Like Ms. Bound, Mr. Binks is a returning County Reads contestant, clearly in it for the money. He’s also a novelist. He presents Care Of by Ivan Coyote. The transgender, non-binary writer and performer spent the early days of the pandemic answering their correspondence, which included “letters, Facebook messages, emails, soggy handwritten notes tucked under the windshield wiper of their truck after a gig.”

Care Of is really more than I expected and I’m looking forward to sharing it,” said Mr. Binks enigmatically.

Ernie Margetson The former Councillor for Hillier described himself as a student of history and the natural environment who likes to keep in tune with Council affairs. He defends Adam Shoalts’s national bestseller Where the Falcon Flies, a gripping journey into the vastness of Canada.

“This book relates to a lot of things I’ve been interested in and experienced in my life. It’s adventure and history and all about Canada’s rugged beauty,” he said mysteriously.

Karen Valihora The new publisher of the Gazette enters the fray exhausted but still fighting. She defends Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood. She noted the title comes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. “Despite the fancy title, it’s highly readable, and blends popular genres such as thriller and satire. Its also utterly of the moment, about a billionaire tech mogul reminiscent of Elon Musk, taking over the world.”

“It’s obviously the best book here,” she equivocated.

JC Sulzenko The award-winning poet and avid reader took first place in the County Arts 2023 Wind & Water Writing Contest, for the second time. Ms. Sulzenko held C.S. Richardson’s All the Colour in the World close to her vest. A finalist for the Giller Prize in 2023, it’s about one man’s coming of age journey from 1920’s Toronto through World War II to 1960’s Sicily.

“I chose All the Colour in the World because I could not  put it down. And it’s not a whodunnit!” she said ambiguously. 

County Reads kicks off the 2024 County Reads Authors Festival, which runs from April 18 to 21 and  features an all-star lineup, including writers Peggy Collins, Terry Fallis, Charlotte Gray, Bruce Sudds and Roy MacGregor.

For more information and ticket info, please visit

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 14 edition of The Picton Gazette
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