CLC Kreisel Lecture Series

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    February 2021

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    March 2021

    In A Short History of the Blockade, award-winning writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson uses Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg stories, storytelling aesthetics, and practices to explore the generative nature of Indigenous blockades through our relative, the beaver—or in Nishnaabemowin, Amik. Moving through genres, shifting through time, amikwag stories become a lens for the life-giving possibilities of dams and the world-building possibilities of blockades, deepening our underst... [READ MORE]

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    The geopolitics of empire had already prepared me for this…coloniality constructs outsides and insides—worlds to be chosen, disturbed, interpreted, and navigated—in order to live something like a real self.

    Internationally acclaimed poet and novelist Dionne Brand reflects on her early reading of colonial literature and how it makes Black being inanimate. She explores her encounters with colonial, imperialist, and racist tropes; the ways that ... [READ MORE]

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    "In all creative writing, the question of what is true and what is real are two very different considerations. Figuring out how to dance between them is a murky business."

    In Most of What Follows Is True, Michael Crummey examines the complex relationship between fact and fiction, between the “real world” and the stories we tell to explain it. Drawing on his own experience appropriating historical characters to fictional ends, he brings fo... [READ MORE]

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    I broke all the rules that my dad gave me.

    It was he who had given me, in part, the confidence to think of my life as being worthy to mix with those of the geniuses. —Heather O’Neill

    With generosity and wry humour, novelist Heather O’Neill recalls several key lessons she learned in childhood from her father: memories and stories about how crime does pay, why one should never keep a diary, and that it is good to beware of clowns, ... [READ MORE]

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    “The outburst of cultural energy that took place in the 1960s was in part a product of the two decades that came before. It’s always difficult for young people to see their own time in perspective: when you’re in your teens, a decade earlier feels like ancient history and the present moment seems normal: what exists now is surely what has always existed.”

    Margaret Atwood compares the Canadian literary landscape of the 1960s to the Burge... [READ MORE]

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    “We look around and feel as if book culture as we know it is crumbling to dust, but there’s one important thing to keep in mind: as we know it.”

    What happens if we separate the idea of "the book" from the experience it has traditionally provided? Lynn Coady challenges booklovers addicted to the physical book to confront their darkest fears about the digital world and the future of reading. Is the all-pervasive internet turning reade... [READ MORE]

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    “Speaking one language, I submit, is like living in a house with one window only...”

    From his legendary birth in a snow bank in northwestern Manitoba, through his metamorphosis to citizen-artist of the world, playwright, pianist, polyglot, storyteller, and irreverent disciple of the Trickster, Tomson Highway rides roughshod through the languages and communities that have shaped him. Cree, Dene, Latin, French, English, Spanish, and the universal lan... [READ MORE]

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    Home, for me, was not a birthright, but an invention. It seems to me when we speak of home we are speaking of several things, often at once, muddled together into an uneasy stew. We say home and mean origins, we say home and mean belonging. These are two different things: where we come from, and where we are. Writing about belonging is not a simple task. Esi Edugyan chooses to intertwine fact and fiction, objective and subjective in an effort to find out if one can belong ... [READ MORE]

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    Censorship and book burning are still present in our lives. Lawrence Hill shares his experiences of how ignorance and the fear of ideas led a group in the Netherlands to burn the cover of his widely successful novel, The Book of Negroes, in 2011. Why do books continue to ignite such strong reactions in people in the age of the Internet? Is banning, censoring, or controlling book distribution ever justified? Hill illustrates his ideas with anecdotes and lists names of Canad... [READ MORE]

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    Annabel Lyon's passion for historical novels and her love of ancient Greece make her lecture on the process of creating characters of historical fiction captivating. She discusses the process of wading through historical sources-and avoiding myriad pitfalls-to craft believable people to whom readers can relate. Finding familiarity with figures from the past and then, with the help of hindsight, discovering their secrets, are the foremost tools of the historical novel write... [READ MORE]

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    In March 2010 the Canadian Literature Centre hosted award-winning novelist and storyteller Eden Robinson at the 4th annual Henry Kreisel Lecture. Robinson shared an intimate look into the intricacies of family, culture, and place through her talk, "The Sasquatch at Home." Robinson's disarming honesty and wry irony shine through her depictions of her and her mother's trip to Graceland, the Potlatch where she and her sister received their Indian names, how her pare... [READ MORE]

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    "L'interrogation n'a pas changé à 56 ans: pourquoi ne profite-t-on pas de tout ce qui nous arrive pour changer notre vie?" -Dany Laferrière Le 5 mars 2009, le Centre de littérature canadienne de l'Université de l'Alberta recevait l'auteur acclamé, Dany Laferrière dans le cadre de la conférence commémorative Henry Kreisel. La University of Alberta Press et le Centre de littérature canadienne sont fiers de faire par... [READ MORE]