Marcia Harding says there were three things that inspired her to organize the event. The first was to raise funds for the Astor Theatre. The second was to give local authors a chance to read in front of a local audience. The third was to honour her friend, and author of the Pit Pony, Joyce Barkhouse, who passed away in February of this year.
Barkhouse has a strong Queens County connection as well. She taught in Milton during the 1940's, and met her future husband while in the county.
When she arrived in Milton, things did not start out well however. She was horrified to find there were few books in the classroom to teach the 48 students. To solve this problem, she penned the play "No Books for Christmas," which was performed by the children of her class. The play was entertaining, but also came with a message: books were a wonderful give for children.
Harding says Barkhouse had a love of literature that started when she was young, and stayed with her throughout her life. Harding hopes the message people will get out of the evening is to nurture the love of books in children and adults.
Harding says Barkhouse's love of books came from her mother, and is best summed up in a line from the author's favourite poem: "Richer than I you can never be, for I had a mother who read to me."
Bonnie MacIver, a volunteer librarian at the "Old Academy" school, brought Barkhouse to Harding's classroom on her way to do a presentation for the Grade 5 class.
"Joyce captivate the children with her gently grace and love of literature. The children were held spellbound, as was Meeting Joyce had a profound effect on my life," says Harding
Harding and Barkhouse shared a love of teaching, books and wild horses, and soon became friends.
The evening though is about sharing a love of reading in general, and many authors will be taking the stage to read excerpts from their works.
The authors include:
Alex Hickey: opening the show with a piece about her grandmother, Joyce Barkhouse
Bonnie MacIver: Children's Time
Mary Ediger: Mennonite Girl
Vernon Oickle: Three Crows a Letter
Libby Broadbent: The Thing That Happened
Bev Pettersen: Jockeys and Jewels
Marcia Harding: Secrets of Sable Island
Alex Pierce: Selected Poetry
Jan Barkhouse: Poems for her mother
Performances for the evening will be by the Queens County Girls' Choir, Stacey Hanley and others. They will also play the song Rosalie Peppard composed and recorded in tribute to Barkhouse.
Tickets for the show are $10 each. Tickets for the reception afterwards are an additional $10, where food and wine will be served.
With files from Marcia Harding