Montreal Dickens Fellowship
for the best of times

March 6, 2012


A second meeting for those interested in planning our official program was scheduled for March 6th. It was similarly advertised. Prior to this meeting an e-mail in the form of a questionnaire was sent to all the branches of the Fellowship worldwide, asking their advice on a long list of questions. There was a wonderful response to these queries, bringing home the meaning of FELLOWSHIP!!!!!! The March meeting, which had 14 participants, had a very productive and lively discussion. The upshot of this planary session was:

We would begin meeting the first Tuesday of every month 2:30-4:30 at the library venue (many of the interested participants are senior and preferred weekdays).

The official meetings would begin in the fall. We would then begin to charge $20 for individuals and $30 for couples. Until then we would meet monthly to amass new members, celebrate all things Dickens and prepare for Pickwick!!

We would cover a book per year starting with "The Pickwick Papers". We would divide it into a selected number of chapters per session. We would pre-read each selection and think about pre prepared questions pertaining to the selected chapters. We would also watch the B.B.C. adaptation in segments at each meeting. We all wanted to include a chance to read aloud at each meeting!

Participants would give small presentations about Dickens, the book or Victorian issues at each meeting and we would pre-arrange selected speakers on a variety of different topics for many of the sessions.

If membership was low we would begin advertising in local newspapers and the Montreal Gazette

We would try to find help in setting up a website. This would feature a newsletter with summaries of past meetings, notices of upcoming meetings and advertising of selected events etc. For this we would try take the best ideas from the other branches' wonderful examples and other literary societies' examples.

We decided on fund-raising for the Tiny Tim Fund of the Montreal Children's hospital, which aids poor families. We would contribute a portion of the dues and the fees for "open to the public" special speakers, to this cause at the years' end.

Ellie would look into getting guest speakers eg. Miriam Margolyse and her one woman show or John Huston (Dickens performer/impersonator) to come to Montreal.

We might have special outings like a walking tour of Old Montreal where Dickens stayed or a dinner at a restaurant which features Dickens on their menu covers. If there is interest, we have access to a class for English country dancing here in Montreal.

We will plan a Christmas event and a Birthday party.

When volunteers were requested to take up such positions of secretary, treasurer, fund-raiser, special-events planner, website manger, newsletter editor, there was no response although participants seemed keen to come. Ellie said that hopefully in time, once we were more underway, people would step up to help. In the meantime, she said she was so devoted to this project that she was happy to try to do everything herself for now. It was just going to take much longer, however, since there has been no branch since 1963, she reminded herself that Rome wasn't built in a day.