One Book One Kootenay nominee speaking about slavery at Creston library

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One Book

One Book

Africa’s Unfinished Symphony is a compelling book that takes readers to post-Second World War Africa. Using her skills as a storyteller, longtime journalist and social activist Lucia Mann exposes the uncomfortable truths about modern slavery, human trafficking and other indignities suffered at the hands of others. The novel recently won the 2014 National Indie Excellence Award for Historical Fiction.

Shortlisted for this year’s One Book One Kootenay (OBOK), Africa’s Unfinished Symphony follows the life of Farida as she leaves her traditional African life to her rebirth as Bertha, a modern day Christian, then back again to help her people adjust to their changing world. Along the way she is a victim, a survivor and a savior. Her quiet dignity challenges the reader to speak up, do the right thing.

Unfortunately, the vulnerability of women and the cruelty of their oppressors depicted in the novel are just as prevalent in the real world today as they were 70 years ago.

“Anyone who thinks slavery died when America abolished it in the 1800s has a shock coming to them,” said Mann.

Mann grew up in South Africa, was educated and worked as a journalist in Britain, has lived and worked in the United States and now resides in Fauquier, B.C. She remains active in her campaign against slavery and human trafficking through her writing and working with various media. She recently did several interviews with American broadcasters concerning the abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls. She is currently engaged in talks to film her work.

Come to the Creston Valley Public Library at 7 p.m. June 26 to hear Mann talk about Africa’s Unfinished Symphony, slavery in the modern world and OBOK.

Africa’s Unfinished Symphony is one of three books shortlisted for OBOK, in which readers vote for the title they think all Kootenay book lovers should read. South of Elfrida, short stories by Holley Rubinsky of Kaslo, and nonfiction title Blue Collar B&B by Sparwood resident Bobby Hutchinson are also in the running. Copies of all three shortlisted titles, as well as ballot boxes, are available now in Kootenay-Boundary libraries.

Mann also reads at the Sparwood Public Library at 7 p.m. June 27 and at the Trail and District Public Library at 1 p.m. July 2.

One Book, One Kootenay is an initiative of the Kootenay Library Federation. More information is available at www.obok.ca.

—CRESTON VALLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY