2017 Event Schedule

Thursday, March 16, 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7:00 p.m.)
UVic First Peoples House, Ceremonial Hall

MALA_05014_VanCamp_poster_WEBLansdowne Lecture by Richard Van Camp
Dancing Snow: The Art of Modern Storytelling

Richard Van Camp will describe how he became a storyteller, share stories gifted to him by his Elders, and discuss how they have shaped him, personally and professionally, as a father, husband, brother, son, and writer. He will expand on why we need stories and how stories transform those who listen to them while promoting community and celebrating connection. In spirit with the storytelling tradition, he will empower, provoke laughter, and astonish.

Richard Van Camp, a member of the Tlicho Dene First Nation, has published twenty books over the past twenty years, including The Lesser Blessed, A Blanket of Butterflies, and Night Moves. He lives in Edmonton.

Free admission. Sponsored by the Faculty of Humanities


Friday, March 17, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
UVic First Peoples House, room 160

Joanne Arnott at First Peoples House

An Orion Lecture Series Reading

WordsThaw Master Class instructor Joanne Arnott will read from and discuss her work. In the Q&A to follow, students and members of the public are invited to pose questions to Joanne about Indigenous writing, her own writing, and her experience as an Indigenous writer in Canada over the past three decades.

It is hoped that a lively discussion will ensue, where Writing students and Indigenous students can gain insight into her process and seek advice for their vocational path.

Free admission. Co-organized with the Department of Writing and Planet Earth Poetry
Sponsored by the Faculty of Fine Arts through the Orion Lecture Series


Friday, March 17, 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7:00 p.m.)
UVic First Peoples House, Ceremonial Hall

Words on Ice: An Evening of Readings

An evening of readings of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by eight Canadian writers

Jordan Abel, Joanne Arnott, Trevor Corkum, Philip Kevin Paul, Gail Scott, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Yasuko Thanh, Richard Van Camp

Author books will be on sale in the lobby courtesy of the UVic Bookstore
Co-organized with Planet Earth Poetry

All proceeds for Words on Ice will be used for payment toward WordsThaw Writers Festival authors


Saturday, March 18, all day
UVic, Human & Social Development Building, room A240

WordsThaw Panels:

1) Defending the Environment: Our Planet in Crisis (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

To protect our beautiful planet, artists and scientists need to work together on language, law, politics and activism. Four brilliant thinkers on poetry, law, environmental ethics, and water, land, and air will engage us on local issues and the politics of protection; sustainable energy projects and the power of air and water around the globe; and how creativity contributes to environmental action.

Panelists: Erica Gies, Dan MacIsaac, Adam Olsen

Moderator: Maleea Acker

2) Exploding Myths: How to Upend Cultural “Truths” (1:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

Myths are timeless elements of literature and culture. They represent our most creative efforts to understand ourselves and our existence, and form the heart of humanity’s most enduring tales. But inaccurate myths—unthought-out, erroneous beliefs—can lead to false assumptions that misrepresent and even dehumanize those they seek to understand or worse contain. Come hear four authors who make “exploding myths” part of their artistic practice discuss the relationship between myth, writing, storytelling and society.

Panelists: Misao Dean, Jennifer Manuel, Troy Sebastian, Gail Scott

Moderator: Anita Lahey

3) Indigenous Languages: Theories of Transformation (3:45 – 5:45 p.m.)

Indigenous theories of transformation, rooted in our worldview, is only achieved through our languages. It’s a turn toward our way of being and knowing, connecting us to knowledge, places, and practices, allowing for Indigenous-owned and Indigenous-controlled ways of knowing, for our knowledge enacted through witnessing, correcting, and accountability. Applying Maori scholar Leonie Pihama’s idea of “Indigenous theories of transformation” to language revitalization on Turtle Island, our panelists will shares stories on how they embody and practice language revitalization.

Panelists: Tiffany Joseph, Philip Kevin Paul, Lorna Williams

Moderator: Cole Sayers

Organizer: Alana Sayers


Saturday, March 18, 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. (15-minute slots)

Brief Encounters: One-on-One Critiques of Your Work

Blue-pencil critique sessions with local writers!

All workshop spots are now filled.

Poetry: Karen Enns, Darcy Lindberg, Patricia Young

Fiction: Tricia Dower, Kari Jones, Darrel McLeod

Creative Nonfiction / Memoir: Madeline Sonik


Sunday, March 19, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Greater Victoria Public Library, Downtown Branch

wt2017-master-class-posterOral + Text:
Master Class with Joanne Arnott

An interactive writing workshop exploring embodiment and breath as bases for writing, editing and performance. We will consider oral and literary text traditions, and ourselves as points of confluence and congruence.

One way to visualize oppression and mistreatment is as a struggle for public space, where some voices and histories are suppressed and marginalized, while others are given light, oxygen, attention, elevation: a central and a solid platform. Both individually and collectively, impacts of trauma can have a silencing effect, where survival can seem to depend upon silence.  Together these influences sow confusion and uncertainty.

Indigenous cultural practices often return us to the heartbeat and the breath as reflections of the primordial organization of life, echoing seasonal and generational change within the simplicity of our direct human experiences. As cultural workers, it is our call to be attentive to the universe in ways that honour the past and the future, while remaining connected to and rooted in the present moment unfolding.

Early registrants may submit samples of work (1-3 pages) for discussion. All participants come prepared to write and to share words.

Organized by Planet Earth Poetry

Event Partner: Greater Victoria Public Library

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