The F. M. Salter Lectures on Language

The F.M. Salter Lecture on Language were established in 1988, in commemoration of Professor Frederick M. Salter (1895-1962), a former Cape Breton coal miner, Author and Scholar, who first served this Department as a lecturer in 1922, becoming a permanent member of the faculty in 1939, and serving as Head in the early 1950's. Salter was a specialist in early English literature, authoring an important study of Medieval Drama in Chester, but his greatest influence was as a teacher of creative writing. He established this country's first creative writing course in 1939, the year he was hired, and went on to teach such luminaries as Rudy Wiebe, who delivered the Salter Lectures in 1992, and WO Mitchell. In 2005, FM Salter was named one of the 100 Edmontonians of the Century (formal recognition of Edmontonians who have made a significant impact on the development of Edmonton as a community).

The Department of English and Film Studies presented the 2020 F.M. Salter Lecture on Language with Mark Morris

The Domesday Clock is as close to midnight as it has ever been, and humanity has perhaps the darkest prospect for its future that most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Mark Morris argues that so many of what seem to be separate challenges - the climate crisis, the rise of authoritarian states, increased global competition, the enormous gulf between a tiny handful of the very rich and the rest of the world's population, to name but some - are actually linked, and also share a common corruption of the honesty of language.
He has wondered for many years what it would have been like to teach in the 1930s if one was aware of what Nazi Germany was building to, and what his responsibility would have been to those students who were going to take the brunt of the consequences of 'peace in our time'. He sees the 2020s as echoing that era, and asks what our responsibility is to those students who are going to bear the brunt of what is almost inevitably coming.

Mark Morris has been an outsider looking in for most of his life, an Old Etonian Welshman-come-Albertan music critic. He has hobnobbed with the very rich and the famous and a few politicians, lived down and out as a kitchen porter, is an award-winning librettist, a photographer, a theatre director, the author of Domesday Revisited and the Pimlico Guide to 20th-Century Composers, and is currently the classical music critic of the Edmonton Journal. He has a doctorate in Creative Writing, is a former Artist-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, and has taught as a contract instructor in the Department of English and Film Studies for 20 years.