Wednesday July 30, 2014

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Local will speak at banquet

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A former southeast Saskatchewan resident will be the guest reader at the annual Author's Banquet that is hosted by the Estevan chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women.

Melanie Schnell, who wrote the award-winning novel While the Sun is Above Us, hails from the Lampman area, and now resides in Regina. She'll speak at the banquet, which is slated for Friday, May 2.

Schnell spent the better part of a year as a volunteer for Canadian Aid for South Sudan after reading a magazine article in MacLean's Magazine in 2000 about slavery in Sudan. While in Sudan, Schnell witnessed many the problems facing Sudanese people: torture, rape, mutilation and death.

She became so obsessed with the images and a story from the article that it inspired her to write While the Sun is Above Us, a novel about two women – one a Canadian aid worker and the other a Sudanese slave.

Their lives are changed forever following a chance encounter.

While the Sun is Above Us won the best first book honour at the Saskatchewan Book Awards last year.

Schnell is currently working on her second novel.

The event will also feature a silent auction, with many books that have been donated by publishers.

Cocktails and the silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. The banquet starts at 6:30.

Proceeds from the event will be used to fund the Mary Rose Boyer Memorial Scholarship, which is presented to an Estevan Comprehensive School female student each year.


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