Adele Irving and Sheila Norgate will be in Courtenay on Aug. 22 for readings from their respective memoirs.

Courtenay art gallery expands offerings with a special night of author readings

Adele Irving of Courtenay and Gabriola’s Sheila Norgate share excerpts from their memoirs

Two Island authors have productively used COVID to bring their memoirs to press.

Adele Irving (Courtenay) and Sheila Norgate (Gabriola) have both taken years to bring their efforts to completion, and luckily for their fans, neither of them gave up.

Irving’s Splat! starts in 1995 when her ‘perfect’ life went splat! As she points out, sometimes you are the bug, sometimes you are the windshield. Thirty years later, writing her story has allowed Irving to examine how she was able to pick herself up and keep going. It’s an engaging read, like getting a deliciously long letter from an old friend that you’ve lost contact with and catching up in one fell swoop. It’s the perfect read for a beachy afternoon or weekend when binging is possible.

This book is a powerful reminder that many of us have struggles in our lives (especially under the covers of ‘perfect’ lives!), and that secrecy is the enemy of healing and growth.

This story of family inspires and entertains with the truth of one woman’s life, and the magic of patterns and synchronicities to guide and affirm. In 2021 Splat! received honourable mentions in the New York Book Festival, Paris Book Festival, New England Book Festival and Southern California Book Festival in the personal memoir category.

Norgate’s memoir has been writing itself for at least 25 years. After many abandoned attempts to commit the thing to paper, a spate of confessional one-woman performances, and half a dozen writers’ retreats, one of which involved an overnight Greyhound bus ride to Saskatoon, Norgate has finally wrestled her self-reflective ducks into a row long enough to produce If You Are Reading This.

The book is a collection of short essays, some as short as one page, covering a wide swath of territory. Making appearances are childhood trauma, the Second World War, the lesbian night owl (world famous oxymoron), God, false teeth, feminism, lady painters, Santa Claus, and a funny bone that has stood the test of both time and trouble. Norgate’s early accolades are saying: “stupendous, a beautifully crafted life story…”, “devastating and witty…smooth like Noel Coward” and “a breathtaking accomplishment,”

Two different stories, two different world views, two talented women courageously and vulnerably sharing their life stories for our entertainment, for our edification, and to inspire our own self-examination. Monday, Aug. 22, 7 p.m. at Artful : The Gallery (526 Cumberland Rd., Courtenay), Irving and Norgate will each read selected segments of their books and be available for what promises to be a delightfully engaging and inspiring Q&A.

By donation at the door ($10 suggested) and cash sales of both memoirs will be available that evening, personally signed by the authors.

authorComox Valley

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