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May. 20, 2022 | Friday
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NOTL author kicks off library's Wine and Words series
Debi Goodwin will launch the Wine and Words series with a talk on Oct. 9 at Southbrook Organic Vineyards. (Supplied)

Debi Goodwin grieves, gardens and heals in her memoir, A Victory Garden for Trying Times and this fall she’ll speak about her book and gardening through loss at the first Wine and Words event at Southbrook Organic Vineyards.

Goodwin, a local author and retired CBC journalist, said she needed a project to help her through her husband Peter Kavanagh’s cancer. He was also a CBC journalist, producer and author.

“We were both writers and project people. I really needed a project to sustain me through his cancer treatments,” she said.

Kavanagh died on Sept. 7, 2016. Goodwin’s memoir will be released exactly three years later, this Sept. 7. Once published, her book will be available at the NOTL Public Library and for sale through her website,

After learning about the concept behind victory gardens, which were home-grown gardens to sustain the public, encouraged by governments throughout the First and Second World Wars, she said she busied herself researching and designing her own victory garden while going through her husband’s treatments.

“I saw them as a symbol of fighting against an enemy you couldn’t see,” she said.

Kavanagh spoke at Wine and Words in 2015 for his memoir The Man who Learned to Walk Three Times also at Southbrook. His book takes readers through three defining points in his life living through injury and ailment, and learning to walk again and again.

Goodwin said her husband had polio at two months old and suffered pain his whole life. “That was one of my angers over his cancer.”

Debbie Krause, community engagement co-ordinator for the NOTL Public Library, said it’s going to be a sad, but powerful start to the season.

“She’s speaking at Southbrook, where he did his talk. So, it’s going to be a bit emotional, but beautiful,” Krause said.

This year marks the eighth season of Wine and Words hosted by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library. Six authors will speak over the six months, each at a different winery, from October to April, taking a break in January.

Krause said she’s excited for this year’s lineup, which feature a wide variety of authors and styles.

“We have a couple that are returning, and they’re favourites. Terry Fallis is a big favourite of the community,” she said.

“I’m excited to have Samra Zafar, she wrote the book The Good Wife. She’s a real advocate for women’s rights, she works against child brides. It’s real timely and I’m really excited to have her,” she said.

The season ends with Guy Gavriel Kay and Krause said he was one of the authors she sought out for this year’s lineup.

Goodwin will speak at Southbrook on Oct. 9;  Fallis is at Palatine Hills Estate Winery on Nov. 13; Jennifer Robson visits Konzelmann Estate Winery on Dec. 11; Zafar is at the Hare Wine Co. on Feb. 12; Katherine Ashenburg will speak at a winery to be announced, on March 18; and Kay is at Caroline Cellars on April 15.

Wine and Words tickets can be purchased through the NOTL Public Library website and includes a glass of wine from each winery, with food pairings. Tickets are already selling fast, Krause said.

Tickets are $30 each or season passes can be purchased for $150.