Last night, I attended a book launch for Lois Hole Speaks: Words that Matter. In an unusual twist, this event was organized by the President’s Office, and the University of Alberta Press had no official role. Sheila Stosky coordinated the launch and did a marvellous job.
Chancellor Eric Newell read from Mrs. Hole’s 1998 inaugural address as Chancellor of the University of Alberta. The Chair of the Board of Governors, Brian Heidecker, chose a passage from her May 2001 address at the Seniors Wellness Conference, which illustrates her passion for gardening and finished with a reading the John Wesley poem quoted on pp. 95–6. Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Carl Amrhein read from a speech he heard Mrs. Hole deliver on the occasion of the installation of Eric Newell as Chancellor. He reminisced about his introduction to Lieutenant Governor Lois Hole, which he imagined would be a formal and austere production. Instead, after shaking his hand, she smiled with her characteristic warmth and said, “I think we can do better than that.” She followed up with a hearty hug: most suitable from “the Queen of Hugs.”
President Indira Samarasekera shared her experience of spending one hour with Mrs. Hole. Even critically ill, Lois had an enormous impact on the incoming president, as the two connected over their shared passion for education.
The launch was rewarding on a personal level, as I heard both MC Jim Edwards and President Samarasekera speak about the role the University of Alberta Press played in shaping and producing an important and beautiful volume, with the aid of editor Mark Lisac and the cooperation of Mrs. Hole’s family, especially sons Jim and Bill Hole. The president’s public support of our work and achievements, noting our most recent spate of awards, was both thrilling and humbling.
Definitely a book launch to be savoured, along with our memories of the special woman whose words are now preserved in the hope that they will inspire others.
PS—Obviously, Lois Hole Speaks is hitting an immediate chord. In its first two weeks on bookstore shelves, it has been #7 and then #5 on the Edmonton Journal’s Top 10 Bestseller list for non-fiction. Jim Hole’s radio presence and Audreys Books’ huge window display have given sales a jump start.
Filed under: events, New Books, news Tagged: | bestseller, Bill Hole, Brian Heidecker, Carl Amrhein, Eric Newell, Indira Samarasekera, Jim Edwards, Jim Hole, Launch, Lois Hole, Lois Hole Speaks, Mark Lisac, Sheila Stosky