Author: Melissa Tanti

HAL Special Issue 9.2 commemorating the life and work of Cees and Annerie van Gemerden

The Special Issue has arrived! Look through HAL’s beautiful tribute to the life and work of Cees and Annerie van Gemerden

Haisla author Eden Robinson in Hamilton, Feb 8

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 TricksterWith 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.

Announcing “Stories of the ‘More-than-human’ World”, CCENA’s Second Long Table Gathering of the Year

This open public forum builds off of an earlier CCENA panel at which presenter, Dr. Bonnie Freeman (Hodinohso:ni/Algonquin), urged us to think beyond people-narratives, to think instead of stories and narratives of the land. The focus of this discussion will be land as teacher, land as pedagogy. Thursday February 2, 3-5 pm. McMaster University Centre for Continuing Education, One James North, Room 212. RSVP:

Presenters include, Kaitlin Debicki, Kanien’keha:ka PhD student in English and Cultural Studies whose research focuses on trees as instructors in Haudenosaunee tradition, John Terpstra, poet and author who has written for many years about the natural environment in Hamilton and is currently working on “daylighting Chedoke Creek,” and Randy Kay who will discuss his ongoing work on restoring the Ancaster Creek valley watershed and the MacMarsh initiative.

Kaitlin Debicki, “Yotsitsyonte O:se & ‘Going Back on their Tracks’: How Eastern Flowering Dogwood Taught Me to Be My Own Creation Story.” Kaitlin is Kanien’keha:ka, Wolf Clan, from Six Nations of the Grand River. She is a new mother, a Kanien’keha language learner, a PhD student, and a tree-hugger. Her research is interested in how readings of both land and literature may increase awareness and understanding of Tewakatonhwentsyó:ni, Mother Earth as our shared matter.

Randy Kay, “Cold Stream of Consciousness: A story of McMaster’s Parking Lot ‘M’.” Randy Kay combines his non-academic local history research with an activists’ creative focus to bring about changes that enhance the natural world. He is fortunate to have a great network of people who make beneficial outcomes more possible. He blogs about it at Randy has an honours degree in English from McMaster, and he works at OPIRG McMaster helping students engage in meaningful social justice projects.

John Terpstra, “Daylighting Chedoke Creek: What the Water Says.” John Terpstra is a poet and author who has written on both the natural and the built geography of Hamilton, in Falling into Place and The House with the Parapet Wall. His current project focuses on a buried creek which runs through the west end of the city.

We look forward to seeing you at the table!

First Community Gathering of the Year: Visual Narratives, Creating and Creation Stories

As a follow up to our recent launch event, The Good Mind, at the Hamilton Public Library, please join us for our first Community Gathering of the year: Visual Narratives, Creating and Creation Stories. Full details and RSVP using the link below:

Work will be presented by Simon Orpana, Rob Kristofferson and Rick Hill. Thursday November 24, 3-5 pm, McMaster Innovation Park. Light Refreshments will be served. 

Rick Hill, Senior Research Coordinator at Deyohaha:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Six Nations Polytechnic on the Grand River territory will discuss The Creation Story project.

The Creation Story project is comprised of Six Nations artists’ renderings of the Haudenosaunee creation story. This book reproduces images of these beautiful works and offers commentary based on interviews with the artists on their connection to this founding teaching in Six Nations tradition and their efforts to interpret that story in contemporary art.

Simon Orpana and Rob Kristofferson will discuss their 2016 graphic novel, Showdown!Making Modern Unions. 

Based on interviews and other archival materials, this graphic history illustrates how Hamilton workers translated their experience of work and organizing in the 1930s and early 1940s into a new kind of unionism and a new North American society in the decades following World War II.

The word cena means dinner in both Spanish and Italian. In this spirit, CCENA invites you to bring your creativity and ideas to the table!

Special Issue of HA&L on the Life and Work of Cees and Annerie Van Germerden

Guest Editor, David Forsee
Guest Poetry Editor, Annick MacAskill

PREVIEW WITH: Cees & Annerie van Gemerden • David Forsee • Shelley Niro • Rick Hill • WATCH FOR Articles from: Mary O’Connor, Anne Milne, Don McLean, Jane Mulkewich, Nancy Bouchier & Ken Cruikshank – and much, much more to come!

© 2018 CCENA

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