Poet Dionne Brand to deliver keynote talk at event celebrating 20 years of Canadian Writers in Person

This year, Canadian Writers in Person celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special guest talk titled “What does writing do.” led by Canadian author, poet and activist Dionne Brand.

Dionne Brand.
Photo by Jason Chow

York University students, faculty and staff are invited to attend this anniversary event, which is presented by the Hal Jackman Foundation. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre on York University’s Keele Campus. There will be a reception following the event. Organizers request that those interested in attending RSVP.

Brand is one of Canada’s most accomplished authors. Through poems, essays, documentaries, fiction and non-fiction, Brand’s work inspires audiences with its fearless exploration of important topics such as gender, political power, sexuality, feminism and race. Her writing has earned multiple honours, including the Governor General’s Award for poetry, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Trillium Prize for literature, the Pat Lowther Award for poetry, the Harbourfront Festival Prize, the Toronto Book Award, book selections in the New York Times and the LA Times, among many other accolades.

“Canadian Writers in Person is a fantastic program,” said Brand, “[It is] a unique opportunity that brings writers in Canada together with their present and future audience.”

Humanities professors and Canadian Writers in Person event co-ordinators Gail Vanstone and Leslie Sanders echo Brand’s sentiments, describing the evolution of the program since its introduction in 1999 by York University English Professor John Unrau.

“York was one of the first Canadian universities to offer a course in Canadian literature, and Canadian Writers in Person has carried on that tradition,” said Vanstone. “We are also a free public reading series to those interested in state-of-the-art Canadian literature in the GTA and beyond.”

Canadian Writers in Person celebrates culture and diversity, and the program typifies some of the goals set by York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS). The series is now available as both a Culture & Expression course in the Department of Humanities in LA&PS and a public reading series that all members of the community are encouraged to attend.

“Canadian Writers in Person is a one-of-a-kind event that offers a unique and immersive experience for all,” said LA&PS Interim Dean J.J. McMurtry. “Our Faculty is so proud to support this endeavour. Twenty years is an incredible milestone.”

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