Fifth “Labour of love”

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Coat­i­cook

Aunique book was launched at Town­ship­pers’ Day on Satur­day to help cel­e­brate the Town­ship­pers’ As­so­ci­a­tion’s 35th an­niver­sary: Tap­root V. This fifth edi­tion of the pop­u­lar an­thol­ogy of short sto­ries, po­ems, pho­to­graphs and prints by lo­cal

authors and artists is the big­gest one to date with the works of twenty-eight Town­ship­pers.

Brenda Hartwell, a long-time mem­ber of the Town­ship­pers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, has been a big part of the Tap­root project since its be­gin­ning fif­teen years ago, help­ing with the edit­ing of each edi­tion. “The first Tap­root came out in 1999 to cel­e­brate the As­so­ci­a­tion’s 20th an­niver­sary,” said Ms. Hartwell at her home in Bald­win’s Mills.

The idea to put to­gether a book to show­case, pro­mote and en­cour­age lo­cal tal­ent was ac­tu­ally Ms. Hartwell’s idea and one that the As­so­ci­a­tion’s Board quickly ap­proved. “The As­so­ci­a­tion was think­ing of pub­lish­ing an up­date on our com­mu­nity his­tory for the 20th an­niver­sary, but I was in a writ­ing group at the time and I knew there were a lot of great writ­ers and vis­ual artists in the area so, I thought, why not pro­mote them?” she ex­plained.

As with all the Tap­roots, the first edi­tion in­cluded the works of both pub­lished, al­though mostly un­known, and un-pub­lished writ­ers, since any­one at all liv­ing in the Eastern Town­ships was free to sub­mit their work. Tap­root I re­ceived a great re­view in a Mon­treal pub­li­ca­tion and its five hun­dred copies sold out.

The re­cently launched edi­tion fea­tures the work of twenty-eight Town­ship­pers, eigh­teen who have ap­peared in pre­vi­ous edi­tions and ten first-time con­trib­u­tors. Two writ­ers from Stanstead who made it into the book are well­known au­thor Ross Mur­ray, with an ex­cerpt from a larger novel that he is work­ing on, and Sarah El­liot, a young writer who had never been pub­lished be­fore.

“From the be­gin­ning, we’d put out a gen­eral call to the pub­lic for sub­mis­sions,” said Brenda who edited Tap­root V along with Tanya Belle­humeurAl­latt and Carolyn Row­ell. “We get well over one hun­dred to two hun­dred sub­mis­sions. It takes a cou­ple of months to go through them all and each ed­i­tor reads each piece. The sub­mis­sions are only num­bered when we get them; we don’t know who the work is sub­mit­ted by be­cause we live in such a small com­mu­nity. We don’t want to have any prej­u­dice,” Ms. Hartwell ex­plained.

The cho­sen con­trib­u­tors do not only ap­pear in a pres­ti­gious pub­li­ca­tion, they also re­ceive an hon­o­rar­ium for their work. “We want to en­cour­age them to sub­mit their work in other pub­li­ca­tions,” said Brenda. “One of our past authors told me she never even cashed her cheque; she saved it be­cause it was the first time she’d been paid for her work!”

“It’s not re­ally a chal­lenge to work on Tap­root. It’s ac­tu­ally quite a delight – a labour of love. Carolyn and Tanya are great to work with and there was such a wealth of sto­ries and po­ems. We skimmed the cream off the top and we were able to put ev­ery­thing in the book that we wanted to,” con­tin­ued the ed­i­tor. “What I en­joy most about work­ing on this project is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple with tal­ent to con­tinue. It’s great to have an As­so­ci­a­tion like Town­ship­pers’ that rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of cul­ture and art to a com­mu­nity,” Brenda added.

When asked why she joined the Town­ship­pers’ As­so­ci­a­tion al­most twenty-five years ago, Ms. Hartwell com­mented: “I be­lieve I was in­vited to join…and I be­lieve that English peo­ple have a place in the Town­ships. I also like the mis­sion of Town­ship­pers’ to build bridges be­tween the English and French com­mu­ni­ties.”

Tap­root V can be bought, for only $10, at the Town­ship­pers’ of­fices in Lennoxville and Knowl­ton. Fund­ing part­ners of the pub­li­ca­tion are Her­itage Canada, Town­ship­pers’ Re­search and Cul­tural Foun­da­tion, the Lennoxville Youth Cen­tre and the Knowl­ton Lit­er­ary As­so­ci­a­tion.

The edi­tors of Tap­root V are

(l. to r.): Carolyn Row­ell, Brenda Hartwell and Tanya Belle­humeur-Al­latt.

Brenda Hartwell, who has helped edit all five edi­tions of Tap­root, is seen here at her home in Bald­win’s Mills.

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