The Okanagan Regional Library is going western as part of an effort to get children in different regions to read the same book.
The ORL's Okanagan Reads valley-wide reading program is encouraging everyone to read Shoot!, one of three historical novels by George Bowering.
Okanagan Reads started on Feb. 1 and runs until March 8. Readers can follow the dialogue at okanaganreads.ca and join the discussion on the library's social media channels. The schedule of events is posted on the website.
The ORL's western-theme reading promotion includes a chance to meet the author, plus performances by singer-songwriter Rob Dinwoodie, the Old-Time Fiddlers, Westsyde Square Dancers, cowboy poet Ken Mather, and folk singers Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsatt.
The Kelowna branch at 1380 Ellis St. will have two history forums: Researching Your First Nations and Metis Ancestors at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25; and historian Bob Hayes from the Okanagan Historical Society at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26.
Hosted by the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society, the first forum with genealogist Xenia Stanford will explain how to find out more about First Nations' ancestors and how to share those experiences of tracing Metis and First Nations roots. Hayes will discuss ranching families in the Central Okanagan. Bowering will make four library appearances, beginning with his hometown of Oliver at 2 p.m. Wednesday. He visits Summerland Thursday and Vernon at 7 p.m. March 1, followed by Kelowna at 2 p.m. March 2.
Shoot!, a western novel set in the Thompson-Okanagan in the late 1800s, was published in 1994; Burning Water won a Governor General's Award for fiction in 1980; and Caprice was published in 1987.
Shoot! tells the story of the McLean Gang - brothers Allan, Charlie and Archie and their sidekick, Alex Hare - who roamed ranch country around Kamloops on a wild cattle rustling and robbery spree.
Members of the McLean Gang were eventually captured. They went on trial in 1880 and were convicted in the murder of Const. John Ussher. They were hanged on Jan. 31, 1881, in New Westminster.
Bowering, an award-winning Okanagan author and Canada's first poet laureate, has published more than 80 books of fiction, history, plays and poetry.