If you have literary aspirations, love meeting talented writers or just want to soak up a unique cultural experience, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the Canadian Writers in Person Lecture series returning this year at York University. Now in its 11th year, the series features 12 authors who will present their work, answer questions and sign books. The best news in this stormy economic climate is that the readings are free and open to the public.
All of the writers appearing this year are new to the series, though there are some names you might have heard. Lawrence Hill’s bestselling The Book of Negroes is an epic “ghost story” that won the 2008 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and is soon to be a film. Elizabeth Hay, winner of the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Late Nights on Air has established herself as an important voice in the landscape of Canadian literature. Jan Zwicky is a prolific poet who won the 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and is also a renowned musician, philosopher and professor. Known locally as a York professor but internationally as an acclaimed novelist, Michael Helm is the author of In the Place of Last Things, which was chosen as one of The Globe and Mail’s “Books of the Year.”
Reflecting the diversity of modern Canada, each author represents a unique viewpoint that pushes the boundaries of geography, culture and style. Lien Chao writes about the experiences of Chinese immigrant women in The Chinese Knot and Other Stories. With his debut novel Barnacle Love, a 2008 Giller Finalist, Anthony De Sa follows the idealistic dreams of a young boy from Portugal across the sea to the colder realities of Canada. In The Ragged Company, Ojibwa writer Richard Wagamese explores the idea of “home” through characters who are literally homeless in their own land.
This is also a rare opportunity to catch rising literary stars. Perhaps the best pen name belongs to “Motion”, a young poet who sets the musicality of hip hop, calypso and reggae moving in new directions with the spoken word. Writers such as these need to been seen and heard, not just read.
True to the series’ interdisciplinary approach of inviting playwrights, graphic novelists and hypermedia novelists, it is important to note that graphic designer Erik Morin returns with new artwork for this year’s Canadian Writers in Person poster. Cleverly blending iconic Canadian images with the ubiquitous pencil, Morin’s work shows how writing is a physical act that makes its mark on our vision of Canada.
Canadian Writers in Person is also a course that is now offered out of the new Culture & Expression Program in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. All readings take place at 7pm on select Tuesday evenings at 206 Accolades East Building.
For more details and the complete schedule of writers’ appearances, visit the Canadian Writers in Person Web site or contact Professor Gail Vanstone at ext. 33957. (Limited copies of the Canadian Writers in Person poster are available, be sure to get yours by contacting Vanstone.)