PEI

Bringing literature to life: Islander takes helm of Project Bookmark Canada

Islander Laurie Murphy hopes to see a literary place on Prince Edward Island commemorated during her time as as executive director of Project Bookmark Canada.

Islander Laurie Murphy is appointed executive director of Project Bookmark Canada

Executive director Laurie Murphy said she has already received requests from Islanders who want their own bookmark. (Project Bookmark Canada)

Perhaps one could stand in Anne of Green Gables' footsteps one day and see the Island through the words that told the character's story.

The new executive director of Project Bookmark Canada certainly hopes so.

The national charity celebrates Canadian literature through special plaques, or bookmarks, placed in the exact locations where literary scenes are set.

So far, no plaques are on the Island.

But Laurie Murphy, who grew up on P.E.I. and now works for the charity out of Ontario, already received requests from Islanders who want their own bookmark.

"There was a lot of interest from P.E.I. and I think that's great," she told Mainstreet P.E.I. in an interview.

"I would love to see a plaque, love to, all over P.E.I."

17 bookmarks across Canada

Project Bookmark incorporated in 2007, and unveiled its first Bookmark in 2009 on Bloor Street Viaduct in Toronto.

The plaque shows a passage from Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion.

Each plaque shows up to 500 words from a story or a poem that people read while standing in the character’s footsteps. (Project Bookmark Canada)

Murphy said there are now 17 bookmarks in communities across Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, British Colombia and Newfoundland.

Each plaque shows up to 500 words from a story or a poem that people read while standing in the character's footsteps.

"It's this beautiful opportunity to stand and read these words that this great writer spoke about and wrote about this area," she said.

Readers select plaques

The cost of a plaque is in the $14,000 to $17,000 range.

Funding comes from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and other individual donors.

The selection of the bookmarks comes from the readers, though.

So if people on the Island want a plaque in their hometown or city, they can suggest it on the Project Bookmark website, said Murphy.

 "I've grown up with literature set in places, and so it's a very powerful thing for me," she said.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.

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