Des Kennedy moderates a panel discussion on “Place” with Michael Crummey, Fred Stenson, Lee Maracle and Renee Saklikar
On Sunday morning, July 19, the concluding event of the 2015 Readers and Writers Festival brings together an all-star cast of authors to probe the power of place. Place: elements of rootedness, of dispossession and reclamation. Illusions of ownership.
In his new novel, Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey pictures his protagonist: “He looked up at the hills surrounding the cove, sunlight making them ring with meltwater. He’d always loved that sound, waited for it each spring. Hearing it made him certain of the place he came from. He’d always felt it was more than enough to wake up here, to look out on these hills. As if he’d long ago been measured and made to the island’s exact specifications.”
Sto:Lo Nation author, poet, educator and storyteller Lee Maracle says: “Embodied in my truth is the brilliance of hundreds of Native women who faced the worst that CanAmerica had to offer and dealt with it. Embodied in my brilliance is the great sea of knowledge that it took to overcome the paralysis of the colonized mind. I did not come to this clearing alone. Hundreds walked alongside me – Black, Asian and Native women whose tide of knowledge was bestowed upon me are the key to every CanAmerican’s emancipation.”
Reflecting on the Air India bombing of thirty years ago, poet Renee Sarojini Saklikar writes: “There are images. There is the country, Ireland. There is the country, India. There is the country, Canada. There is the province: Columbia, that is British that is no country but layers in early evening. June 23, 1985. About a plane that disappears somewhere over the Atlantic.”
In his latest novel Fred Stenson, describing the devastating effects of the oil and gas industry on a fictional family in southern Alberta, has one of his characters say: “When the place you grow up in is destroyed, something in you gets destroyed too.”
In conversation with Des Kennedy, these four accomplished writers are certain to provide a provocative and stimulating examination of place in its many dimensions.