By Laura Barton, Tribune Staff
Clara Hughes is known as a cyclist, speed skater, public speaker and mental health advocate. She added writer to that list late last year.
On Thursday Hughes will be coming to Port Colborne’s Roselawn Centre to close out its Canadian authors series season with her new book Open Heart, Open Mind.
The book delves into her story of physical and mental pain and coming out on the other side.
“It definitely was one thing to write a book, and then talk about what’s in that book, and I have to say, I definitely underestimated how hard this was going to be,” Hughes told The Canadian Press last September.
Elizabeth Madronich, host of the authors series, said she wanted to include Hughes not only because she’s a beloved Canadian icon and a great public speaker, but also because of the subject matter she deals with.
“I don’t think we’ve really dealt with the issue of depression,” Madronich said.
The series features seven Canadian writers and public figures each season. Madronich picks who comes and aims to go with well-known authors who are current with what’s going on in Canadian literature. She tries to diversify in terms of subject matter as much as possible to avoid repetition.
Hughes is the only person to win multiple medals in both the winter and summer Olympics, has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, has been inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and more recently is known for being the spokesperson for Bell’s Let’s Talk Day.
Madronich said she thinks a mixed group of people will be attending Thursday because of the different things Hughes is known for, but she can never be sure just who will show up.
“I think we would get people that are interested in (sports and mental health),” she said.
Madronich said she hopes the event encourages people to be more accepting of mental illnesses and to be inspired by Hughes’ determination.
Each Canadian authors series venue features food and wine or craft brewery tasting with live entertainment by the band Soundscape. This happens prior to a reading done by the author. Afterwards there is a book signing and the opportunity to speak with the author.
Madronich described the event as “an evening of entertainment for book lovers, readers and non-readers.”
While children are welcome at the event, she said it is catered more to an adult audience.
Tickets are $30 at the door. For those who already hold passes for the Canadian Author Series, this event is included. The event begins at 7 p.m.