Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 7pm
Bryan Prince Bookseller is pleased to announce the launch of a new Writing Life series.This series, presented in co-operation with The Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts (CCENA) at McMaster University, will feature a Canadian writer in conversation with a McMaster University PhD candidate (in this case, Kaitlin Debicki, Mohawk, Wolf Clan). Each guest author will discuss their latest book and specific social and cultural components that inform their work, as well as their life as a writer.
Our inaugural guest will be Eden Robinson who will be in Hamilton to talk about her new novel, Son of a Trickster. Robinson is an award-winning novelist and short-story writer, and is the recipient of the 2016 Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work. She is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations.
Westdale Secondary School (theatre)
700 Main Street West, Hamilton
Free, everyone welcome.
*This event is presented in partnership with Westdale Secondary School and Penguin Random House Canada
Son of a Trickster: With striking originality and precision, Eden Robinson, the Giller-shortlisted author of the classic Monkey Beach and winner of the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award, blends humour with heartbreak in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existence meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics, and cannibalistic river otter . . . The exciting first novel in her trickster trilogy.
Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who’s often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he’s also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can’t rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)–and now she’s dead.
Jared can’t count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can’t rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family’s life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat…and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he’s the son of a trickster, that he isn’t human. Mind you, ravens speak to him–even when he’s not stoned.
You think you know Jared, but you don’t.
As a Native Canadian writer, Eden Robinson joins the ranks of novelists Thomas King, Tomson Highway, Richard Wagamese and Lee Maracle, non-fiction author and poet Gregory Scofield, and playwrights Daniel David Moses and Drew Hayden Taylor in describing Native traditions and modern realities with beautiful, honest language and biting black humour.
Robinson grew up in Haisla territory near Kitamaat Village, surrounded by the forests and mountains of the central coast of British Columbia. After earning her B.A., Eden Robinson moved to Vancouver to look for work that would allow her to spend time writing. A late-night writer, she ended up taking “a lot of McJobs” –janitor, mail clerk, napkin ironer. She decided to enter the masters program at the University of British Columbia after having a short story published in its literary magazine PRISM international. Traplines was the young woman’s first book, a collection of dark and brutal stories that feature a deadpan, gritty humour. While Eden was finishing work on the book, her paternal grandmother died; Eden feels the knowledge of real grief affected her writing. The book was published in 1996 and won the UK’s Winifred Holtby prize.
Eden Robinson has become one of Canada’s first female Native writers to gain international attention, making her an important role model. Her second book, Monkey Beach evinces a love of her culture – Robinson maintains that if you don’t grow up on Oolichan grease, you’re not going to learn to love it, never mind make it; and if you grow up on supermarket vegetables, you’ re not going to learn when and where to find salmonberry shoots. She has used her celebrity to draw attention in Time magazine to the Canadian government’s chipping away at Native health care, and to the lack of subsidized housing for urban Natives. This limited housing leads to overcrowding on reserves, where there is little access to jobs. Robinson argues that Natives forfeited rights and land for just these types of government services. Eden Robinsonhas been a Writer-in-Residence at the Whitehorse Public Library, and will be working with the Writers in Electronic Residence program, which links schools across the country with professional writers.