Winner of 2014 Forest of Reading Evergreen™ Award Announced

TORONTO, ON (November 7, 2014) – After weeks of voting, Ontarians have decided: Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Painted Girls, the enthralling story of the two sisters living in 19th Century Paris, has won the Forest of Reading’s 2014 Evergreen Award.

“It is so very heartwarming to learn that Ontario public library patrons have selected The Painted Girls as the 2014 Evergreen Award winner,” says Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls. “I’m deeply honoured to be part of this exemplary initiative to encourage reading.”

Through book clubs and other forums, over 60 Ontario libraries participated in this year’s Evergreen Award reading program. The reading program is designed for adults and comprised of the best titles in Canadian fiction and non-fiction. It is one of eight programs that form the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) Forest of Reading®, Canada’s largest recreational reading program of its kind.

“We’re thrilled that Buchanan’s The Painted Girls will now be joining the ranks of previous Evergreen Award winners, who include Terry Fallis, Linwood Barclay and Emma Donoghue,” says Catherine Coles, Chair, Evergreen Award Steering and Selection Committee.

The Forest helps celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors and illustrators and encourages a love of reading in people of all ages. Over 250,000 readers participate annually through their schools or public libraries. All Canadians are invited to participate through their schools, local public libraries, literacy centres, or at home.

A committee of library professionals chooses the titles nominated for the Evergreen Award, which are announced every January. Votes are tallied for the award during Ontario Public Library Week (third week of October). Buchanan will accept the Evergreen Award at OLA’s annual Super Conference on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015.

Check out the Forest of Reading Facebook and Twitter pages, and use the hashtags #ForestofReading2015 and #Evergreen2014.

Congratulations, Cathy Marie Buchanan!

About The Painted Girls: Paris, 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the Van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged 14. Meanwhile, Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labour and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation—her survival, even—lies with the other.

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