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Oysters for Literacy — with Arthur Black

It’s a little known fact that oysters support literacy.

Indeed, oysters are for literacy, libraries and the vast oceans of opportunity that open up with reading. They’ll prove it on Friday, Nov. 12 at Oysters, Authors and Ale, a gala benefit for the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, the Learning Place, and the Nelson Library, when they offer themselves up for the cause.

CBC radio’s Planet Salt Spring host and prolific author Arthur Black will MC the evening, which will feature those delectable bivalves and many other hors d’oeuvres prepared by Selkirk College’s Professional Cook Training students.

Selkirk’s Resort and Hotel Management program is set to make the evening shine. Brent Petkau, AKA Brent the Oysterman, is bringing his Cortez Island oysters along with his passion for both oysters and literacy.

Also on the menu, along with readings by humourist Arthur Black, are winners of the 2009 Nelson Arts Council literary competition: Tessa Exley (youth), Robert Banks Foster (second place, poetry), Sharmaine Gray (creative nonfiction), and Jane Sinclair (fiction).

Entrants were asked to write to the theme: “if only things had been different.”

“It’s a fitting theme for this event, too, because literacy changes lives,” said Learning Place coordinator Joan Exley. “ For many learners, if only things had been different their lives might have been enriched. With literacy programs, they have that chance.”

Approximately four out of every 10 Canadians experience challenges in literacy. Oysters, Authors and Ale wants to make reading everyone’s pearl.

The Selkirk Jazz Quartet supplies music to nibble by. Silent auction items are unique learning packages, opportunities to try something new — perhaps a musical instrument or how to get the most out of the slopes— donated by local supporters.

Also on the auction block is Oysters 101, a chance to win The Oysterman live in your own home, along with his salty friends. Nelson Brewing Company is both a supporter and the Ale part of the OAA threesome.

The annual event is presented by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy and the Nelson Municipal Library. Tickets are available (advance only) at $50 per person (and include a $25 charitable donation receipt) at Otter Books or the Nelson Library.