Ladysmith author explores community as The Moon Watched It All

Shelley A. Leedahl releasing her latest work, an illustrated tale for all ages

“In a time before this time, when the world moved at a pony’s pace, a woman rocked by her window and turned, every evening, to the moon. the woman was neither young nor old, neither happy nor particularly sad.

She was known as Mirada, for she was always gazing. Like the moon, she was what she was.”

So begins the The Moon Watched It All, the latest work by acclaimed Ladysmith author Shelley A. Leedahl, “written in richly allusive, atmospheric prose that will keep lovers of words pinned to the page,” according to Kirkus Reviews

It’s the poignant story of pensive Mirada, a solitary woman who lives in a bygone village far far away. One day she sees a shy orphan boy who has been cast out of his village. She opens her door to him and as time passes the two unlikely solitudes become a necessary part of each other’s lives — as the moon watched it all.

Stirring detailed illustrations by Toronto-based Aino Anto provide the moody and moving visuals for this part fairy tale, part modern allegory, that Leedahl describes as an all-ages work about the importance of community.

“In this 21st century, with our advanced transportation systems and extraordinary technologies, it’s easier than ever for people to connect, yet we’re experiencing an epidemic of loneliness, which is tragic for both mental and physical health,” Leedahl said.

“In The Moon Watched It All we follow two disparate characters — Mirada, a senior whose family has long been gone from her life, and a bullied, nameless boy — in their solitary journeys. This story is an homage to human resilience, and to the value in forming even the smallest of communities.”

The book is the 12th from Leedahl, who also wrote The Bone Talker; I Wasn’t Always Like This; Listen, Honey; Wretched Beast; and The House of the Easily Amused. Her poetry most recently appeared in The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English: Tenth Anniversary Edition (Tightrope Books).

She was born in Kyle, SK, spent her formative years in Meadow Lake, and raised her family in Saskatoon. She lived in Edmonton and worked in radio before moving to Ladysmith in 2014.

She has earned several international fellowships, regularly presents her work, and leads writing workshops across Canada.

An enthusiastic ambassador of Ladysmith, she can frequently be found running or hiking on Holland Creek Trail, except on Tuesday afternoons, when she is playing guitar, piano, and singing for residents at the Lodge on 4th.

Everyone is welcome to Fox and Hounds on Wednesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. for Ladysmith launch of the book.

A book signing is scheduled at Salamander Books on Saturday, April 27, from 1 to 3 p.m.

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