Manitoba

Read by Queens: Drag queen storytime comes to Winnipeg libraries

Later this month, the Winnipeg Public Library will host Read by Queens, a family storytime event with stories read and performed by local drag queens.

Drag queens, kings to read stories at pair of events hosted by Winnipeg Public Library

Levi Foy, also known as Prairie Sky, helped get drag queen storytime off the ground and will help present stories at the events. He spoke to CBC News with Karin Borland, the administrative co-ordinator of youth services at the library. (Kelly Malone/CBC)

It's storytime, supercharged, for the first time in Winnipeg.

Later this month, the Winnipeg Public Library will host Read by Queens, a family storytime event with stories read and performed by local drag queens.

"A lot of us do drag because we like to be able to show that you can be anything you want to be," said Levi Foy, also known as Prairie Sky.

"That's what's going to make this event really, really special, because kids are so imaginative, and for them to be able to grow up knowing that one day they can be whatever they want to be, or tomorrow they can be whatever they want to be — that's what I really hope they take away from it."

Foy said he and others got the idea from similar events taking place in other cities internationally and wanted to recreate them in Winnipeg.

From there, they approached the library to make it happen.

"It had been on our radar; we had seen this happening in the library world," said Karin Borland, the administrative co-ordinator of youth services at the library.

"But to have the community reach to us and ask for it, it was really good timing."

Karin Borland, the administrative co-ordinator of youth services at the library, says the events will be like regular storytime, "supercharged." Levi Foy, also known as Prairie Sky, helped get the event up and running. (Kelly Malone/CBC)

Borland said the events will feature multiple queens and kings presenting the stories, a twist on regular storytimes that usually have only one or two library staff reading.

"Pretty much like a regular family storytime, except it's going to be supercharged, because it's drag queens reading and presenting," she said. "… This time we have a number of people, a number of drag queens, taking different books, different songs, presenting different things. So a lot of variety, a lot of colour, excitement."

Borland and Foy wouldn't offer many hints about what sort of stories to expect, but they confirmed they'll be reading Eric Carl's The Very Hungry Caterpillar — "a perennial favourite," Borland said.

In addition to Foy, other drag queens who'll present include Foxy Lamour, Pharaoh Moans, Sandi Bay, Aurora Luz, Satina Loren, Cake, Purple Haze and Ruddy Wreck.

The events will take place at the Millennium Library on May 20 and the West End Library on May 31. For more information, you can check out the event's Facebook page.

With files from Ismaila Alfa, Isaac Wurmann

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