Library to host author reading tomorrow | NK Standard-Times

A plan developed between the Public Library and Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church to better meet the cultural needs of North Kingstown residents will culminate at the library tomorrow night when author Brad Kessler, a Vermont writer and goat farmer, will speak from his memoir, Goat Song : A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese.” The program will take place on January 27 from 6 p.m. in the library. Kessler will bring some of his cheese, which he makes from his goats’ milk. Similar events are held in the library throughout the year.

Started by Fr. Spencer Reece, the vicar of St. Paul’s who is also a published poet, and the library director Susan Aylward, a number of writers and authors have been invited to stay in the church’s 7-room rectory, where they reside relax, write, paint or draw. Reece said, “When I moved to town, I was told that the vicarage had played a role in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War to house escaped slaves on their way to Canada.” After moving into the house, he said Reece said he had discovered a hidden room in the attic where runaway slaves could apparently be housed until they moved on to the next station on their way north and to freedom.

“Just as the church was a haven for escaped slaves, I thought it would be a great idea to make it a haven for writers and artists,” Reece said. “And it all came together in a week,” he said. As a published author, Reece had befriended many other writers and artists and contacted them for their opinions on his plan. They called or texted back asking what time it was open and what time they could come. Aylward, a member of the Church, heard about the project and suggested that when the artists and writers are in town they could host readings and exhibitions at the library. Reece added that he’s spoken to the school district and some of the writers will be going into the schools and teaching classes about their work.

Former library director Susan Berman “had a vision for this library as a people’s university,” Aylward said, and with the help of Elizabeth Donohue, she continued that effort to make the library an educational and cultural center for North Kingstown. “I told Father Reece that we’d like to have the authors come and read,” Aylward said, and the plan was hatched. “We now have a whole list of writers and artists who want to participate,” Reece said. Also, during Lent, a playwright will be working at home on a sequel to a play he has written in hopes that his first play can be performed for the public in the library. Reece said that if the Spiritual Refuge Series really does take off, he envisions it continuing well into the future.

However, there is not enough furniture in the vicarage, which is why the church is asking for donations. To donate items or for more information, contact Reece at 401-294-4357. There are also a number of workshops with the authors and a list can be requested either by calling the church or emailing [email protected] or from the library.

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