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Wine event to feature O'Connell

Wine event to feature O'Connell

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Whether you are looking for a chance to sample local wine, talk about books or support a local non-profit, the Literacy Council of Madison County has you covered. The Madison County based non-profit is hosting its next Book Meets Wine World event Friday, Aug. 16 at Revalation Vineyards.

This is the second year of the Book World Meets Wine World events, held the third Friday of every month. Literacy Council Executive Director Cassie Carter and board members Brenda Clements and Kit Johnston conceived the idea in early 2018 when volunteer tutor and winery owner, Francoise Seillier-Moiseiwitsch, volunteered to help create a fundraiser. The four came up with a format to showcase local authors and Revalation wine for the benefit of the literacy council.

Literacy council board member Fay Utz is hopeful that the evening event will attract a large crowd.

“We hold the event rain or shine on the third Friday of every month through October,” said Utz. “We had one postponed for a week because of a huge predicted storm. We like to have as many as possible come. Even though the tasting room is small, there is lots of outdoor seating on the porch and under the trees and we always have a food truck.”

Carter hopes that the fundraising events will bring more awareness of the non-profit’s mission as well as necessary funding. The organization provides a wide range of services including GED classes, job search training, computer literacy classes and reading, writing and basic math instruction.

The featured author of next week’s event, Mark O’ Connell, is appreciative of the opportunity.

“I was honored to be given this opportunity,” said O’ Connell. “I plan to talk about all three of my books and a little about the next one too. They’re all different, my first, “Criminal Minds In Real Time” is a memoir telling my experiences in the criminal justice system as a probation and parole officer. The second book, “Justice Denied” is a fictional account of a crime that happened in Orange County and the third, “The Team the Titans Remember” is the true story of the 1971 Andrew Lewis High School football team. The Disney film “Remember the Titans” had the Titans of T.C. Williams playing their rival George C. Marshall. The truth was, the 1971 championship game was between the Titans and a small school from Salem. Nowadays, with the classification system, a big school like T.C. Williams would never play a small school like Andrew Lewis. It would be like a 2A school playing a 6A school. My fourth book, which I’m in the process of writing, will be a sequel to “The Team the Titans Remember’.”

This isn’t the first time O’Connell has helped out the Literacy Council of Madison County. He and his wife Diana Wheeler O’Connell both had parts in the murder mystery plays created by local playwright Jim Jewett that benefitted the non-profit.

“My wife and I have done several of Jim’s plays,” said O’Connell. “Since 2013 we’ve done five or six for the literacy council and relay for life. They are a lot of fun and for a good cause.”

The Literary Council of Madison County is a local non-profit that supplies education services to adult residents of Madison County. The organization’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of Madison County residents as jobholders, parents and life-long learners. The non-profit is located at 110 N. Main St. Suite A in the Town of Madison and is open Monday- Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about the Book World Meets Wine World event, any other programs call or to donate or volunteer, call 948-5514 or visit

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