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The Kootenay Book Weekend-Passionate Page Turners


Initially inspired by the Banff Book Discussion Weekend, two passionate page-turners, Victoria Vaseleniuck and Martha Scott, both from Nelson, BC, took on the challenge of bringing a book discussion weekend to the Kootenays.  The Kootenay Book Weekend began to take form in 2004 when they recruited 2 other enthusiastic book aficionados, Carol Allan and Sara Judith.



At that first fun-filled weekend, when the call for volunteers went out, six more “passionate page turners” joined the group.  Though some of these directors have changed over the ensuing years, we are grateful to the original members for developing the format and activities that we continue to tweak each year.  We encourage libraries in the Federation to set up a link to the Kootenay Book Weekend since we have participants from many areas of B.C. (and from the U.S., England and from other provinces of Canada).


Book selections are picked a whole year beforehand by those in attendance at the prior book weekend event. We compile a long list from the three titles sent in by each registrant.  The organizing committee determines a short list of eight books.  This short-list is posted along with a brief review of each book.  Participants at the weekend are given three stickers to paste on the reviews they believe will result in a good discussion.  The stickers are counted and “voila”, we know the books chosen to read for the following year!  Choice of the visiting author resides with the core committee.


One director has the enviable job to be the visiting author contact. Negotiations with possible guest authors begin long before the next event, in order that the featured author can be announced at the weekend.


The KBW has grown from 37 participants in 2004 to 60.  For each book discussion, passionate page-turners in groups of 12 are randomly selected, giving everyone an opportunity to meet the new and returning participants over the weekend.  Each discussion is lead by a facilitator who opens the discussion with a brief introduction and then guides an informal, lively, sometimes contentious, but always fun discussion!  More and more, passionate page-turners are taking on the role of facilitator.


Relaxing and socializing happen after each discussion.  Friday evening is the “ice breaker” where groups of eight solve the literary quiz prepared by one of the directors.  This game involves lots of whispering, hair pulling and forehead banging as we race to finish first.  Saturday evening features the auction of displayed prizes donated by local supporters.  Much “shimmying” of loonies is observed among strategists!  (Why is there always a table of ‘newcomers’ who win all the items?)


Time and time again, passionate page turners tell us their favourite parts of the weekend involve meeting new friends, socializing, discussing the books and spending time with the guest author.  Much sharing takes place during the luncheons provided by the Best Western on Saturday and Sunday or when dining out with the author at a local restaurant on Saturday evening.


Sunday, we look forward to having the guest author visit each of our discussion groups.  The author talk, after the discussion, is open to the public.


On display at the weekend is the Archives scrapbook with candid photos and articles about each year’s activities;  pithy literary quotes and artistic reproductions from the Reading Woman’s Calendar are posted around the main meeting room.  On our 5th anniversary, we had a delicious ‘book’ cake and we planned a special celebration to mark our 10th anniversary in 2013.  September, 2013 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Kootenay Book Weekend and we celebrated in style complete with decorations, a toast to past and present page turners, a scrumptious anniversary cake, and commemorative KBW tote bags.  The sixty (60) attendees heartily acknowledged the effort and creativity of our many supporters who, over the last decade, have contributed greatly to the continuesd success of the weekend.



We welcome many participants back year after year.  We hope you will become one of those enthusiasts!

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