Upcoming Events

Event: The Avie Bennett Chair in Canadian Literature Presents Katherena Vermette and Richard Van Camp (Zoom Webinar: 10 Feburary 2022, 7 p.m. EST)

The Avie Bennett Chair in Canadian Literature presents Katherena Vermette (Red River Métis – Michif) on Storymaking and Richard Van Camp (Tłı̨chǫ Dene) on Storytelling, followed by a dialogue with each other hosted and moderated by Smaro Kamboureli, the Avie Bennett Chair in Canadian Literature. This event is hosted by the Department of English at the University of Toronto on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 7 PM EASTERN ST (8 PM ATLANTIC ST, 8:30 PM NEWFOUNDLAND ST, 6 PM CENTRAL ST, 5 PM MOUNTAIN ST, 4 PM PACIFIC ST).

Free registration is required: https://literature-matters-2022.eventbrite.ca


Katherena Vermette, a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation, is celebrated as one of “the most gifted and relevant writers of our time.” Her debut book of poetry, North End Love Songs (2012), won the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award, and her first novel, The Break (2016), was a national bestseller, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction and Canada Reads, and winner of the 2017 Amazon First Novel Award and the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Vermette’s writing is inspired by the world and its stories; she remembers “Richard Van Camp [calling] these ‘gifts’ and they are. We are blessed to be able to receive them.” Her second novel, The Strangers (2021), a companion to The Break, was the winner of the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and named Chapters Indigo’s Book of the Year 2021. She has also published a second book of poetry, river woman (2018), the graphic novels tetralogy A Girl Called Echo (2017-2021), and The Seven Teachings Stories, a series of children’s books inspired by the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe. Vermette has also directed, with Erika MacPherson, The River, a short National Film Board documentary, recognized as the best short documentary at the 5th Canadian Screen Awards. Vermette writes and lives with her family “within skipping distance of the temperamental Red River” in Winnipeg.

Richard Van Camp, a proud Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, NWT, is an internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author who writes in many genres, ranging from short fiction to graphic novels, from baby books to children’s literature. He is the author of The Lesser Blessed (1996), a novel adapted into film; produced by First Generation Films and directed by Anita Doron, it was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is available for streaming on CBC’s GEM. Its German translation by Ulrich Plezdorf won the 2001 Jugendileraturpries Award, the highest award for a translation awarded by the German government. The novel’s protagonist, Larry Sole, also appears in Angel Wing Splash Pattern (2002), Van Camp’s collection of short stories recently reprinted in a 20th Anniversary edition by Kegedonce Press. His award-winning short story collections include Godless but Loyal to Heaven (2013), winner of the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction, and Moccasin Square Gardens (2020), winner of the 2021 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Young Adult Literature and the 2021 Blue Metropolis First Peoples Literary Prize. Van Camp has also won the 1997 Canadian Authors Association Air Canada Award, the 1999 Writer of the Year Award for Children’s Literature by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, and the 2015 R. Ross Arnett Award for Children’s Literature for Little You, and was the 2006-07 Wordcraft Storyteller of the Year for “The Greatest Storytelling in Canada and the US.” He lives with his family in Edmonton.

Smaro Kamboureli is the Avie Bennett Chair in Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she has published extensively on Canadian literature. The author of Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada, winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Literary Criticism, and of On the Edge of Genre: The Contemporary Canadian Long Poem, she has also edited or co-edited over twenty volumes of essays, including Lee Maracle’s Memory Serves: Oratories. Her most recent publication is Land / Relations: Possibilitie s of Justice in Canadian Literatures, co-edited with Larissa Lai (forthcoming). Her most recent publication, co-edited with Larissa Lai, is Land / Relations: Possibilities of Justice in Canadian Literatures (forthcoming).

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