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Kenneth Oppel in outer space

The 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing may be grabbing all the headlines today, so it’s easy to overlook a bookish footnote to the historic milestone. According to a press release from the Canada Council for the Arts, astronaut Robert Thirsk, currently aboard the International Space Station with fellow Canadian Julie Payette, has brought with him two books by Canadian authors “ Airborn by Kenneth Oppel and Deux pas vers les étoiles by Jean-Rock Gaudreault. Both books share non-terrestrial themes (the former concerns dirigibles and the latter, a play, is about a wannabe astronaut) and they have both won a Governor General’s award. Thirsk brought along the books in recognition of the fact that he is a descendant of Sir John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir of Elsfield, the Governor General who established the Governor General’s Literary Awards in 1936.