Read Local Okanagan

Kick back during your next relaxing Okanagan staycation with

entertaining literature by some of our very talented locals.

During a visit to Vernon BC, Farmers’ Market in the fall of 2018, not long after the launch of her first book, a literary travel memoir entitled I have Something To Tell You that Natalie Appleton, local writer and business owner, came up with the idea of a pop up bookshop, one that would showcase Okanagan writers. Marketgoers could buy local baby carrots, sourdough bread, strawberries, Adirondack chairs, painted thank you cards and Alpaca scarves. Why not books?

And, so the Read Local Okanagan pop-up bookstall was formed to feature 52 titles by 24 writers from across the region – everything from vintage poetry collections to historical novels.

“People always seem surprised that these books are all by Okanagan writers, and it is amazing to see them all together like this,” says Kate Mahaits, a Read Local Okanagan team member.

An early supporter of Read Local Okanagan, Vernon writer John Lent, who is also a former Okanagan College Dean and creative writing professor, says “Back in 1991, there were around six writers living from Salmon Arm to Penticton who had published books. I now know of at least 35 professional writers who have moved here in the last 10 years. These are national writers who have a reputation outside of the Okanagan. All together, they have more than 100 merchandisable books.” Many of the Read Local writers, teach at Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan, have won awards and have national acclaim.


Alix Hawley

Told in a haunting voice All True Not a Lie In It hinges on Daniel Boone’s captivity by the Shawnee during the Revolutionary War. Okanagan author, Alix Hawley fleshes out this one-dimensional folk hero so that we penetrate deep within his psyche. We find the charismatic frontiersman; the husband who struggled to mollify his wife, who he frequently abandoned with their children, or dragged with him through the wilderness while he cut a trail that hundreds of thousands would eventually follow. He was also the loving father whose actions led directly to the torture and murder of his son.

Touted as a brilliant first novel, All True Not a Lie In It, features taut and expert storytelling as well as rich, intense descriptions and prose full of feeling, especially about Daniel’s love and longing. Alix has masterfully imagined the experience of settling America through the eyes and heart of one of its most beloved folk heroes. Grab your coonskin hat and settle in for a captivating read.


Alix Hawley

No need for separation anxiety when the last page is read. Hawley’s second novel, My Name is a Knife, continues the historical story with carefully drawn characters and deep dives into the human consciousness. You’ll never see this American icon and his wife Rebecca the same way again.


Shelley Wood

“Before the fishbowl world of reality television and carefully curated social media accounts, there was Quintland,” says Elise Hooper, author of Learning to See.

A historical novel based tightly on the true story of the Dionne Quintuplets, born in May 1934, The Quintland Sisters is impeccably researched. “Newspapers and magazines were bombarded by their photos and stories while I was growing up in Toronto in the 1950s.” Told from the point of view of a young nursing assistant, the story perfectly captures the astonishing birth and early days of the famous quintuplets’ lives.

Kelowna based Shelly Wood, brings the Quints’ small Ontario farming community of the early 1930s to life, as well as all the characters that come in and out of their surreal and extraordinary world.

The Quintland Sisters tells of five little girls, caught in the circus-like intersection of dueling cultures, classes, languages and faith in the last years before World War II.

“Wood cleverly combines fact and fiction in a fast-paced novel that will leave readers contemplating how the best intentions of government intervention can have dire, unanticipated consequences.”

– Publishers Weekly.

Source: Author websites and reviews and personal reading.

Look for the Read Local Okanagan stall at Farmer’s Markets

and festivals throughout the Okanagan.

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