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New book captures a piece of Elizabeth Bishop’s childhood

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TRURO, N.S. —

Rita Wilson knew nothing about Elizabeth Bishop until 10 years ago, although she was an English major and an avid reader. Today, she’s the author of a children’s book about the writer.
“I thought maybe it was because I hadn’t gone to school in Nova Scotia that I didn’t know about her, but my daughter went to school here and hadn’t heard of her either,” said Wilson, who now lives in Caribou River. 
“I discovered her by chance and now I’m a complete Bishop-phile. I’ve read a lot of her work and I love her poetry. In a way it’s very plain, but also very deep.” 

Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson


Though born in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Bishop spent time, as a young child, living with her grandparents in Great Village during the early 1900s. She later became a respected poet and had many fond memories of her time in Nova Scotia. 
“I taught young children and thought a book about Elizabeth Bishop would be a non-threatening way to introduce her to children,” said Wilson. “It’s set in Great Village, and the part of her life she spent there was very important to her. 
“I had several residencies at the house, so I really got to know it, and the book takes you through the house, room by room.”
The book includes art by Emma FitzGerald, who is also a Bishop fan.
“I was really a bit obsessed with Elizabeth Bishop,” she said. “I did a residency in the house and I slept in her house in Brazil. I read her work and had a wide knowledge so when I met Rita I asked if there was an illustrator for her book.”
She did a lot of drawing while at the house.
“I walked the rooms and saw the views from the windows. I noticed a lot of little details I added to the book. The pantry was the most cozy and homey space for me. It has amazing little drawers and a nice window with light. 
“Both times I was there I was without a car and it was fall and winter. It was quite beautiful but also very stark.”
The artwork shows the village during all four seasons, and includes her canine companion, Betsy.
FitzGerald also created collages, including old papers and photos, which are interspersed with her illustrations.
A Pocket of Time is available on the Nimbus Publishing website at https://nimbus.ca/store/a-pocket-of-time.html. It will be available during the book signings and launch events, when people can also meet Wilson and FitzGerald.
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Book launches:
Thursday, Dec. 5, 3-4:30 p.m.: at the Tatamagouche library; 
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2-4 p.m.: at Elizabeth Bishop House, in Great Village.

Books signing
Saturday, Dec. 7, 1-2 p.m.: at the Halifax Central Library, 3rd floor.

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