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Catching Up with Claire!

Updated: May 8

By NB Youth Ambassador Hidayah Al-Kanz

Digitally Lit’s Youth Ambassador program welcomes readers aged 13-25 from across Atlantic Canada. Sadly, that means that we have to say goodbye to some charming people when they move on to new projects and if they age out of the program. Thankfully, there is social media and we can stay in touch and always know what our friends are reading.

Recently, current Youth Ambassador Hidayah was able to catch up with alumnus Claire Bennet to find out what things are like after being a Youth Ambassador. Claire is the mastermind of the Digitally Lit newsletter. She created it way back when! Claire also was a Youth Ambassador from May to December 2020. Now, she is 27 years old and working with one of our partner publishers!

Q: What’s your favourite memory with Digitally Lit?

A: I really loved getting to meet other Atlantic Canadian readers who were just as passionate about books as I am!

Q: What was your favourite part of creating this newsletter?

A: With the newsletter, I loved being able to connect with what my fellow YAs were up to! It was great to look into their projects, to ask questions, and to share their projects with the wider world. The newsletter, especially in the first years of Digitally Lit, was also a great way for us to reach a wider audience who may not necessarily see our posts on social media.

Q: What’s new career-wise?

A: I’m now working as a children’s book editor, which has been a goal of mine for a long time.

Q: What skill(s) did you develop as a Youth Ambassador that has helped you in your current endeavours?

A: While I was already aware of the vast diversity of books available to read in Atlantic Canada, being a Youth Ambassador placed those books directly in front of me, and helped me learn about the wonderful authors, illustrators, and publishers that live and work locally.

Q: What’s your favourite Atlantic Canadian book?

A: I love so many local books, but I’m going to have to say my favourite is a classic: Anne of Green Gables. Anne was a big part of my childhood, from the books to the show to the musical, so it holds a special place in my heart. Rebecca Thomas’s I Place You Into the Fire and Kate Beaton’s Ducks are two other books that have stuck with me long after reading them, and that I think everyone should read.

Q: What’s a goal you have for the future?

A: Right now, my goal is to continue being the best editor I can be. I strive to be an informed, creative, and kind editor who advocates for the reader and helps my authors write compelling stories.

Q: What piece of advice would you give to a reader who perhaps wants to follow in your footsteps?

A: Get involved in your local book community! Find your local independent bookstore and see what launches, readings, or other bookish events they might be hosting. It’s these sorts of events that will introduce you not only to other readers, but also to your local authors and publishers. And, of course, fantastic books.

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