Kreisel Series / Série Kreisel

An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading (2020)

 

Author: Dionne Brand

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: 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 practices of reading and writing are shaped by those narrative structures; and the challenges of writing a narrative of Black life that attends to its own expression and its own consciousness.

 

 

 

 

 

Most of What Follows is True: Places Imagined and Real (2019)

 

Author: Michael Crummey

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: 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 forward important questions about how writers use history and real-life figures to animate fictional stories. Is there a limit to the liberties a writer can take? Is there a point at which a fictionalized history becomes a false history? What responsibilities do writers have to their readers, and to the historical and cultural materials they exploit as sources? Crummey offers thoughtful, witty views on the deep and timely conversation around appropriation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisdom in Nonsense: Invaluable Lessons from My Father (2018)

 

Author: Heather O'Neill

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: 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, among other things. Her father and his eccentric friends—ex-bank robbers and homeless men—taught her that everything she did was important, a belief that she has carried through her life. O’Neill’s intimate recollections make Wisdom in Nonsense the perfect companion to her widely praised debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals (HarperCollins).

 

 

 

 

The Burgess Shale: The Canadian Writing Landscape of the 1960s (2017)

 

Author: Margaret Atwood

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: “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 Burgess Shale, a geological formation that contains the fossils of many strange prehistoric life forms. The Burgess Shale is not entirely about writing itself, however: Atwood also provides some insight into the meagre writing infrastructure of that time, taking a lighthearted look at the early days of the institutions we take for granted today—from writers’ organizations, prizes, and grant programs to book tours and festivals.

 

 

 

Who Needs Books? Reading in the Digital Age (2016)

 

Author: Lynn Coady

Introduction: Paul Kennedy

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: 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 readers into web-surfing automatons and books themselves into museum pieces? The bogeyman of technological change has haunted humans ever since Plato warned about the dangers of the written word, and every generation is convinced its youth will bring about the end of civilization. In Who Needs Books?, Coady suggests that, even though digital advances have long been associated with the erosion of literacy, recent technologies have not debased our culture as much as they have simply changed the way we read.

About the author: Lynn Coady is an award-winning author and journalist whose work has
consistently drawn critical and public attention. Her first novel, Strange Heaven, was a Governor General’s Award nominee. Her subsequent books, Play the Monster Blind, Saints of Big Harbour, and Mean Boy were each recognized by the Globe and Mail as a “Best Book” in 2000, 2002, and 2006 respectively. In 2011, her novel The Antagonist was shortlisted for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize, an award she won in 2013 for her short story collection Hellgoing. Her journalism has been published in such publications as Saturday Night and Chatelaine, and Coady is also a founding editor of the Edmonton-based magazine Eighteen Bridges.

 

A Tale of Monstrous Extravagance: Imagining Multilingualism (2015)

 

Author: Tomson Highway

Introduction: Christine Sokaymoh Frederick

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: “Fasten your chastity belts, ladies and gentlemen, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” From his legendary birth in a snowbank in northwestern Manitoba, through his metamorphosis to citizen-artist of the world, polyglot, playwright, pianist, 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 language of music have opened windows and widened horizons in Highway’s life. Readers who can hang on tight—Highway fans, culture mavens, cunning linguists, and fellow tricksters—will experience the profundity of Highway’s humour, for as he says, “In Cree, you will laugh until you weep.”

About the author: Tomson Highway enjoys an international career as a playwright, novelist, and pianist/songwriter. He is considered one of this country’s foremost Indigenous voices. He is best known for his award-winning plays, The Rez Sisters (1986), Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (1989), Rose (2000), and Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout (2005) as well as his critically-acclaimed novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen (1998). His most recent play is a one-woman musical called, “The (Post) Mistress.” Highway has won four Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Chalmers Award, and a Wang Festival Award. In 1994, he was named a Member of the Order of Canada, the first Indigenous writer to be inducted. He holds ten honourary doctorates and has been writer-in-residence at universities across Canada. He has travelled extensively around the globe as a speaker and performer, having visited 55 countries to date.  www.tomsonhighway.com

 

Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home (2014)

 

Author: Esi Edugyan

Introduction: Marina Endicott

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: 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 to more than one place, if home is just a place or if it can be an idea, a person, a memory, or a dream. How “home” changes, how it changes us, and how every farewell carries the promise of a return. Readers of Canadian literature, armchair travellers, and all citizens of the global village will enjoy her explorations and reflections, as we follow her from Ghana to Germany, from Toronto to Budapest, from Paris to New York.

About the author: Esi Edugyan’s most recent novel, Half Blood Blues won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2012 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. It also won the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, which recognizes books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. The novel was a finalist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, the 2012 Orange Prize, the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and the 2011 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published internationally to critical acclaim. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003. Edugyan has held fellowships in the U.S., Scotland, Iceland, Germany, Hungary, Finland, Spain and Belgium. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her husband and daughter.

 

Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book: Anatomy of a Book Burning (2013)

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne 

About the book: In 2011, Canadian writer Lawrence Hill received an email from a man in the Netherlands stating that he intended to burn The Book of Negroes, Hill’s internationally acclaimed novel. Soon, the threat was international news, affecting Hill’s publishers and readers. In this provocative essay, Hill shares his private response to that moment and the controversy that followed, examining his reaction to the threat, while attempting to come to terms with the book burner’s motives and complaints. Drawing on other instances of book banning and burning, Hill maintains that censorship is still alive and well, even in this age of access to information. All who are interested in literature, freedom of expression and human rights will appreciate this passionate defence of the freedom to read and write. 

 

 

 

 Imagining Ancient Women (2012)

 

Author: Annabel Lyon

Introduction: Curtis Gillespie

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: In March 2011 the Canadian Literature Centre hosted award-winning novelist Annabel Lyon at the 5th annual Henry Kreisel Lecture. 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 writer. Readers interested in the literary creative process and in writing or reading historical fiction will find Lyon’s comments insightful and intriguing.

About the author: Annabel Lyon, a Vancouver-based fiction writer and teacher, is the author of several books, including her acclaimed historical novel, The Golden Mean.

 

The Sasquatch at Home: Traditional Protocols & Modern Storytelling (2011)

 

Author: Eden Robinson

Introduction: Paula Simons

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: 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 parents first met in Bella Bella (Waglisla, British Columbia) and a wilderness outing where she and her father try to get a look at b’gwus, the Sasquatch. Readers of memoir, Canadian literature, Aboriginal history and culture, and fans of Robinson’s delightful, poignant, sometimes quirky tales will love The Sasquatch at Home.

 

 

 

Un art de vivre par temps de catastrophe (2010)

 

Author: Dany Laferrière

Publishers: co-published by the University of Alberta Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: On March 5, 2009, The University of Alberta’s Canadian Literature Centre hosted award-winning author Dany Laferrière for its annual flagship Henry Kreisel Memorial Lecture. The University of Alberta Press and The Canadian Literature Centre are proud to publish the French monograph that Laferrière’s presentation was based on.

About the author: Unconventional, controversial, prolific and immensely talented, Dany Laferrière was born in Haïti and adopted Québec as his new home. He achieved critical fame with his first novel, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired. With humour and clarity, his work examines Haitian, Quebec and North American society and inter-racial relationships.

 

 

 

The Old Lost Land of Newfoundland: Memory, Family, Fiction, and Myth (2009)

 

Author: Wayne Johnston

Publishers: co-published by NeWest Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: In 2008 Wayne Johnston became the second prominent Canadian writer to enlighten and entertain audiences as a speaker in the Canadian Literature Centre’s Henry Kreisel Lecture Series. He spoke to an enthusiastic audience at the University of Alberta about the myths and realities surrounding his native Newfoundland. A master storyteller, Johnston peppered the lecture with impromptu asides, delighting his listeners with true tales and well-spun yarns.

About the author: Wayne Johnston was born and raised in Goulds, Newfoundland. He obtained a BA in English from Memorial University and worked as a reporter for the St. John’s Daily News before deciding to devote himself full-time to creative writing. Since then Johnston has written seven books and has been a contributing editor for The Walrus. His first book, The Story of Bobby O’Malley, won the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Baltimore’s Mansion, a memoir dealing with his grandfather, his father, and himself, was tremendously well-received and won the prestigious Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. His novels The colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Navigator of New York spent extended periods of time on bestseller lists in Canada and have been published in the US, Britain, Germany, Holland, China and Spain. Colony was also identified by The Globe and Mail as one of the 100 most important Canadian books ever produced. Johnston divides his time between Toronto and Roanoke, Virginia, where he has held the Distinguished Chair in Creative Writing at Hollins University since 2004.

 

From Mushkegowuk to New Orleans: A Mixed Blood Highway (2008)

 

Author: Joseph Boyden

Publishers: co-published by NeWest Press and the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne

About the book: In 2007 Joseph Boyden, author of the bestselling novel Three Day Road, was invited by the Canadian Literature Centre | Centre de littérature canadienne to deliver the inaugural Henry Kreisel Lecture at the University of Alberta. Boyden spoke passionately, relating Aboriginal people in Canada to poor African Americans, Whites, and Hispanics in post-Katrina New Orleans. At the end of his lecture, Boyden presented a manifesto to the audience, demanding independence from the shackles of North American governments on behalf of these oppressed cultures.