Island authors celebrated in new 2014 initiative

Dave Stewart
Published on June 11, 2014

Michael Hennessey, author of The Betrayer, Julie Pellissier, author of My Mi'kmaq Mother, and Georges Arsenault, Author of Les Acadiens de Summerside, launched their books along with 11 others Wednesday at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

Georges Arsenault says anything that gets more Islanders reading is a good thing.

And it’s even better when the stories are ones from P.E.I.

The Abram-Village historian, folklorist and writer is one of 14 Island authors who will be in the spotlight this year.

As part of the celebrations around the 150th anniversary of the conference in Charlottetown that led to the creation of Canada, the province is putting the One Book One Island promotion on the book shelf for this year and replacing it with 14 Books One Island.

The 14 is meant to recognize the year 2014.

Arsenault spoke about how thrilled he is that the attention focused on this particular 2014 event will result in people “discovering the richness of literature on the Island.’’

Earlier this year, the Public Library Service formed a 14 Book One Island selection committee. Members of the committee included library staff and members of the public with a broad background and knowledge of Island literature and history.

Joining Arsenault on the list are Shannon Murray, Jennifer Brown, Patti Larsen, Orysia Dawydiak, Patrick Ledwell, Marian Bruce, Julie Pellissier-Lush, Michael Hennessey, Ed MacDonald, Margie Carmichael, William Andrews, Brent MacLaine and Hugh MacDonald.

Arsenault’s book Les Acadiens de Summerside is his featured work on the list. It explores Acadian associations, community involvement, French-language education, sports and more, all of which now have been brought forth so that the Acadian influence in Summerside’s history can be recognized and appreciated.

“We are very fortunate to have publishers and editors that take care of us,’’ Arsenault said.

Pellissier-Lush was beaming at the news conference Wednesday.

“I was so overwhelmed and excited,’’ she said, referring to news that her book My Mi’kmaq Mother was one of the 14 to make the list. “Then I was humbled when I saw the list of other authors on there.’’

My Mi’kmaq Mother is an account of a young Mi’kmaq girl’s life without her Mi’kmaq mother.

Mallory McKinney with the Public Service Library said the decision was made to celebrate Island authors along with every other event going on this year.

They looked for a range of readers, a range of writers, a wide variety of literature that appeals to every age group — fiction and non-fiction. Poetry is in there as well as literature that reflects the different Island cultures.

“Trust me, it was hard to limit it to 14 (authors),’’ McKinney said.

All 14 authors will perform readings as part of their inclusion in the promotion, including at the Confederation Landing Park’s Celebration Zone on Sundays from 2 to 3 p.m. and at local public libraries over the summer. Each author will receive a $1,000 honorarium for being part of the promotion.

Penny Walsh-McGuire, executive director of P.E.I. 2014 Inc., said part of their mandate is highlighting the Island’s “unique culture’’.

For more information on the promotion, visit