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The Globe and Mail

Purdy’s poetry inspires a new generation of book readers

The gift: Founding Get Lit

The reason: To help provide free books to underprivileged children

When Romina Tina Fontana was studying at Trent University, a friend introduced her to the poetry of Al Purdy.

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Ms. Fontana became enthralled with Mr. Purdy's work and even made a short film based on one of his poems called At the Quinte Hotel. She also used his work as inspiration for an annual fundraising event in Toronto called Get Lit. It began in 2005 and has raised more than $200,000 in total for First Book Canada, a charity that provides new books to schools and community groups across the country.

Each year, Get Lit brings together a group of people from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from business and politics to the arts and sports, to read from their favourite books and explain why they inspired them. More than 400 people are expected to attend this year's event on April 26, which Ms. Fontana hopes will raise nearly $200,000, roughly twice as much as in 2016.

"It's exciting to see it grow," said Ms. Fontana, who has worked in the advertising world and lives in Toronto. "It's exciting to see the audience really get behind the concept of Get Lit and leave inspired."

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