If you’re a Nova Scotian around the age of 30 or older, chances are you have vivid memories of the Westray Mine disaster. Twenty-six miners lost their lives on May 9, 1992, making it Canada’s worst mining disaster since Springhill in 1958. In its wake, inquiries were held, criminal trials commenced and an entire province — and country — mourned.
It’s an event that many Dal students weren’t yet alive to witness. But they, and everyone else in the Dal community, can have the chance to dive into its history with this year’s Dal Reads program.
For the past few years Dal Reads, an initiative of Student Services, has encouraged the Dal community to share in reading a selected book each fall, with campus events tied in with the chosen author’s work.
This year, Dal Reads is pairing with the One Book Nova Scotia initiative, organized by Libraries Nova Scotia, to join in on the new provincial program to “read the same book and share the same story.”
"We created the Dal Reads program a few years ago to encourage a shared reading experience across all our Dal communities, and what better way to continue Dal Reads than joining up with the new One Book Nova Scotia program," says Bonnie Neuman, vice-president Student Services. "This book is a super read, with lots of resonance for anyone studying in Nova Scotia."
Diving into history
The selection, Leo McKay Jr.’s Twenty-Six, is a fictionalized account of the Westray disaster. A national bestseller, it was nominated in the top 40 of Canada Reads in 2011 and received rave reviews from Maclean’s, the National Post and the Globe and Mail.
McKay, a high school teacher in Truro, is the former editor of Prism International. His debut story collection, Like This, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize.
You can pick up a copy of Twenty-Six at the Dalhousie Bookstore or from Dalhousie Libraries. As well, if you'd like to discuss the book in person, McKay will be at Dal for a reading and Q&A session on Friday, October 12 at 7 p.m. at the University Club on Studley campus. Light refreshments will be served. McKay will also be doing a reading in Truro at the Colchester-East Hants Public Library on October 25 at 7 p.m.
For more on the One Book Nova Scotia initiative, visit its website.
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