New Glasgow, N.S. - The Town of New Glasgow has announced that it will answer the challenge from the Mayor of Regina Michael Fougere to participate in the UNESCO World Poetry Day on March 21 and National Poetry Month in April and will support this challenge for the second consecutive year. The 2014 Mayor’s Poetry Challenge of Regina is managed by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild and the League of Canadian Poets in Partnership with the City of Regina.
New Glasgow was one of the more than 30 cities and towns from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NF which took part in the 2013 Challenge. The Town will declare March 21st as UNESCO World Poetry Day and April as National Poetry Month.
For 2014, the Town of New Glasgow is very pleased to present award winning author/poet and PARL Writer in Residence Sheree Fitch as this year’s featured poet. Ms. Fitch will present a reading of her poetry, including children’s poetry at the Monday, April 14 New Glasgow Council meeting, which begins at 6:00 pm. The PARL Adopt-a-Library program will also give children attending the reading in Town Hall a free book.
“As a community which values and celebrates arts and culture, New Glasgow is pleased to have this opportunity to showcase the importance of poetry and writing to our community, our province and our nation,” says New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan. “This initiative spearheaded by Regina Mayor Fougere is in keeping with our goal to foster artistic excellence and we are proud to be part of this important initiative. To have an author and poet of Ms. Fitch’s calibre will make this a most special event for New Glasgow. We are most grateful to the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library for its support and role in presenting Ms. Fitch as our featured poet and for bringing her to our region as Writer- in- Residence. We hope that families and children’s groups will attend to hear Ms. Fitch’s poetry reading. Everyone is welcome.”
Sheree Fitch is an educator, literacy activist and author of award winning poetry, picture books, nonfiction, plays and novels for all ages. Her first book, Toes in My Nose, illustrated by Molly Lamb Bobak, was launched in 1987. The books that followed have garnered numerous awards, including The Mr. Christie Award for There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen and the Anne Connor Brimer Award for Mable Murple. If You Could Wear My Sneakers, a book on Children’s Rights commissioned by UNICEF won both the Ontario Silver Birch Award and Atlantic Hackmatack award. In 1998 she won the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work inspirational to Canadian Children. She has been a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF since 1994 and her “lip slippery” adventures have taken her to remote parts of the globe. One of her more recent ventures in literacy education includes completing a three year (summer) writer in residency for Somebody’s Daughter – out on the tundra in Nunavut. This is an innovative program for Inuit women started by Bernadette Dean, Sheree’s friend and former student from a writing workshop Fitch held during one of her sojourns to the North.
A favourite author at major Canadian literary, writers and readers festivals, in demand as writing workshop leader, keynote conference speaker and visiting in libraries and communities, Fitch still divides her time between home and away. She’s has taught Children’s Literature at St. Thomas University and Teaching Poetry and Writing in the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick.
Currently, Fitch is Honorary Spokesperson for the New Brunswick Coalition for Literacy. The coalition initiated the Sheree Fitch Adult Learner Scholarships given out annually from monies raised by Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf Tournaments for Literacy. She is also Honorary Spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Read to Me Program. This program provides literacy information to new parents and books for newborns. Kisses-Kisses Baby-O!-illustrated by Hilda Rose, a board book for babies, was given to every new born in Nova Scotia in 2008. In 2009, it was translated into French by Joanne Elder and Miq ma by Bernie Francis. Each year Fitch sponsors a writing competition for New Brunswick Youth for NB Writers Federation.
Fitch’s written work, both children’s and adult, has been described as “exuberant, joy filled and wise.” In July 2009 her first novel for adults Kiss the Joy as it Flies had its launch and was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award for Literary Humour. Fitch’s novel for Doubleday for senior teens, Pluto’s Ghost, was published in fall 2010 along with a Nimbus re-release of Mable Murple with new illustrations by Sydney Smith. After almost a decade in Washington, D.C. Sheree is back home in her beloved Maritimes and lives with her husband, Gilles Plante in River John.
Poems from the participating communities across the country will also be published on the Facebook page set up for the National Poetry Challenge. The reading at the April New Glasgow Council Meeting is open to the public.