Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

Books are something social—a writer speaking to a reader—so I think making the reading of a book the center of a social event, the meeting of a book club, is a brilliant idea.” Yann Martel

Yes, I would agree Mr. Martel. I have loved every book club meeting I’ve been invited to attend. There is something incredibly special about meeting my readers, hearing them discuss my novels, and answering their thought provoking questions. Most importantly they tell me how they have felt about my words and story all while holding copies of my novels in their hands. Can’t get any more special than that.

I have vivid memories (that I bore people silly with) of every book club I’ve visited. From one man telling me that he found one section depressing in my novel, Finding Callidora (yes, war is depressing), to a woman lambasting me for what I did to one of my characters (as if I have any control over my characters) in The Brink of Freedom, to another woman gushing about my descriptions and how they reminded her of her time in Greece in my novel, Nicolai’s Daughters. Whether a reader’s impressions are positive or negative, it really doesn’t matter to me. Of course I’d rather all opinions about my books be positive, but what I really enjoy is the discussion, the fact that readers cared enough to invite me to their book club because they wanted to understand the novel from the perspective of the author herself. 

After years of toiling alone to produce a novel, the type of discourse and conversation a book club initiates brings a novel to life and I am honoured to have been involved in so many such discussions even up to late January 2020. 

Now in these times of physical distancing required to keep us safe, these gatherings have ceased. Yet people continue to read and email me their questions and comments. Thank you.

In mid June, I was fortunate enough to receive a grant from the BC Arts Council to produce a video or podcast discussing my novel, Finding Callidora. This recording will be available on my website to any book club or school reading and discussing the Canadian immigrant story captured in my latest novel.

The grant program is a pilot project made possible by a generous donation from the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation, the timing of which has allowed the BC Arts Council to match funds and use this initiative in support of the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am grateful to the BC Arts Council and the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation for the funds they provided to make this project a reality. Their generosity has facilitated yet another opportunity for the public to engage with, access, and participate in, the literary arts. A big bucket full of thanks also goes to Rebecca Wood Barrett for the interview she conducted with me for this project and the editing she did of the video. And finally thank you to all the readers who have read my novels and welcomed me into their living rooms to discuss them. I’m still here, prepared to come to you via a ZOOM meeting if you so desire. In the meantime, here is the video your book club or school could use to discuss my novel, Finding Callidora.

Thank you for the support. Happy reading.

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