Doloris shared with us “an author who understood the fundamental role that storytelling can play in building bridges of cultural understanding.” It wasn’t until age twenty-three that Mr. Wagamese reconnected with his own Ojibway (Anishinaabe) people. Fortunately, he gives us all an opportunity to understand them so much more, through his writings.
Richard Wagamese was part of Canada’s 60’s SCOOP when it was common practice to ‘scoop’ newborns from mothers on reserves, placing them with mostly middle-class Canadians of European descent. His parents, victims themselves of a residential school system that “tried to scrape the Indian out of their insides,” (Richard Wagamese) had abandoned their children. At three, he was separated from his siblings and sent to various foster homes before being adopted at nine. At sixteen, he was living on the streets, escaping an abusive home life.
Once again, our gracious Winter Party host was Honorary Member, Ruth Hilland. Ruth and the staff at Amica Aspen Woods provide a most welcoming venue and delicious meal for our Club’s Winter Party.
Needless to say, there are a few creative behind-the-scene CWLC elves who add extra pizazz through tablescapes and entertainment.
This was a perfect time to have two new members introduced by their friends. What “resumés!” To top everything off, we had a most special performer, opera singer Melissa Jackson (Calgary Opera, Cowtown Opera and more.) Singing seasonal songs, her voice carried beyond our room and into the foyer, to the delight of Amica residents and staff, as well as ourselves.
For the New Year, it’s our members that will continue to make the Calgary Women’s Literary Club “sing.” We resume March 3rd.
Thanks, Betty, for choosing to present Alan Bennett, a perfect end to our entertaining and thought-provoking season of humour, irony and satire!
Betty read from the charming novella The Uncommon Reader, wherein Queen Elizabeth gets hooked on reading after chancing upon a mobile library van while walking her corgis. This book had been the first book Betty had read by Alan Bennett, and thereafter she was hooked. After Betty’s presentation, CWLC members are too!
Many of us had seen — if not read — The Lady in the Van, the funny, poignant story about the actual relationship Mr. Bennett developed with a true eccentric. Betty noted that Alan Bennett’s works have been said to be “too English.” Betty would argue that anyone can enjoy them.
CHECK HERE for the Wikipedia page and note especially the body of work by this actor, playwright, screenwriter and author, and the numerous awards and nominations. It is awe-inspiring to see how much someone can do in a lifetime — and is still active! .
Program Coordinator Sandra Ens introduced our November 12th special guest speaker. Natalie Meisner is coordinator of the Mount Royal University Writer-in-Residence Program and a professor in the MRU Department of English where she works in the areas of creative writing, drama, and gender/sexuality studies.
Professor Meisner, who is also a published author and playwright, spoke engagingly about the importance of telling stories outside the mainstream so that other voices are represented at the table of post-modern literature. In addition to this focus on diversity and the “lit of now,” her teaching emphasizes the role of empathy in helping emerging writers engage with their subjects to craft stories that create community. She concluded her presentation by referencing the shift in her own writing away from tragedy and anger toward comedy as a means of effecting social change.
After reading an excerpt from her very amusing work of non-fiction, Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family, Professor Meisner answered questions from the membership that confirmed the idea that literature is something we make, not just something we read.
A whole Canadian political news cycle has passed since Helle’s April 9 presentation on the singular and spirited political commentator Allan Fotheringham. Which is exactly why you will want to read or reread Helle’s comments about the author and why she says, “Today, more than ever, we could use more humour, sarcasm and irony to keep politicians and people in the public eye on their toes.” Even writing in times that were relatively easygoing compared to today’s political correctness, Mr. Fotheringham was the subject of 26 lawsuits: He only lost two!
CLICK HERE to read more of Helle’s timely presentation.