Who’s Who: Laura Churchill Duke
By Mike Butler
Laura Churchill Duke is a powerhouse woman! There’s not too many times I get to sit down in the run of my day, but when I do, I take in how much I do and I think to myself, Laura Churchill Duke does twice as much as I do! I am so honoured to finally feature her in my column.
Laura was born and bred in the Annapolis Valley, having grown up in Port Williams. She attended the original Horton High School and went to Acadia and earned a degree focusing on the business side of psychology. She spent three years living in Japan, teaching English, and travelling the world and having the most amazing experiences: from a camel trek across the desert in India and riding an elephant through the jungles of Thailand, to snorkeling the great barrier reef in Australia and climbing the Great Wall of China. These experiences gave her a desire for a constant thrill of adventure! Laura took a public relations program at the NSCC in Halifax, but returned to the Valley when she met her husband David Duke, a history professor at Acadia, and they now live in Kentville with their two sons, Daniel and Thomas (13 and 11), and a host of rescue animals.
Laura (in a nutshell) is a public relations and communications specialist, but so much more on top of that! “I created the website Valley Family Fun, I am a freelance journalist for papers like The Advertiser and The Grapevine, and I am a professional organizer with Your Last Resort Home Organization. Basically, I spend my time telling people where to go, what they should know, and what they should throw out!”
And now, Laura can add “published author” to her long list of accomplishments as she prepares for the publication of her book Two Crows Sorrow. The book is a work of creative non-fiction about the true story of the murder of Theresa McAuley Robinson from the North Mountain. The book will be published around Thanksgiving with Moose House Publications and there will be a launch party and event on Saturday, October 26, upstairs at CentreStage Theatre in Kentville. Sharon Churchill Roe and Steve Roe will be providing folk music entertainment and there will be readings and refreshments as well as book signings and more!
“I first fell in love with the story of Theresa McAuley Robinson when I wrote the scripts for Valley Ghost Walks,” Laura says. “Her story stuck with me, and I kept thinking it would be a great story, if I wrote fiction. However, I am a reporter! I went to a conference where the central question was “What would you do if you were not afraid?” I knew instantly: I would write this book. So, five years ago, I started the process. I spent months in the archives reading old newspapers, letters, and just about everything I could on the case and the time period. It took over a year to write, as I still had my paid commitments to keep up with! I eventually submitted it to the NS Writers Federation Creative Non-Fiction competition where I was runner-up. After sitting on it again for another year, earlier this summer I dusted it off and started to edit it again. I submitted it to Moose House Publications in Annapolis Royal, and within half an hour, I had heard back from them, expressing their interest! They have been an absolute joy to work with!”
Well, from this big fan of Laura Churchill Duke, I can’t wait for the next chapter to be available! Best of luck!