55 Beyond Survival

Margaret Atwood Ontario

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 50 volumes of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her novels include The Edible Woman, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the FloodRead more

Dionne Brand Ontario

Dionne Brand is an award-winning poet, novelist and essayist. Her poetry collections include No Language Is Neutral, Land to Light On (winner of the Governor General’s Award), thirsty and, most recently, Ossuaries, which was the Canadian winner of the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize last year. Her critically acclaimed novels include In Another Place, Not Here; At the Full and Change of the Moon; and What We All Long For. In 2009, she was named Toronto’s Poet Laureate. Read more

Louise Dennys Ontario

Louise Dennys began her own publishing house at age 25 and helped build Lester & Orpen Dennys into an international Canadian publishing house. Today she heads the leading publishing imprints, Knopf Canada, Random House Canada, and Vintage Canada. A former President of PEN Canada, she has been a longtime PEN Board member. She received an Honorary Degree in Law from Bishop's University in 2004, and received the Order of Canada for service to Canadian culture in 2005. Read more

Graeme Gibson Ontario

Graeme Gibson has been a founding member and chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada, Writers’ Trust of Canada and PEN Canada. Currently he is joint president, with Margaret Atwood, of BirdLife International’s Rare Bird Club. He is also chairman of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory. He has written four novels, including Five Legs and Communion, and two miscellanies, The Bedside Book of Birds and The Bedside Book of Beasts: Echoes of a Working EdenRead more

Emily Schultz Ontario

Emily Schultz’s acclaimed books include Black Coffee Night, a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Award, Joyland and Heaven is Small, a finalist for the 2010 Trillium Award. Her writing has appeared inthe Globe and Mail, Eye Weekly, The Walrus, Geist and several anthologies. Schultz also edits an influential website called Joyland, which publishes short fiction and commentary from across North America. Her new novel is The Blondes. She lives in Toronto and New York. Read more

Aritha Van Herk Alberta

Aritha Van Herk made a splash more than three decades ago when her novel Judith won the Seal First Novel Award. Since then, she has published award-winning works of fiction, history and criticism. Van Herk is also a prolific reviewer and critic for many publications, including the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald and The Walrus. As a professor of creative writing at the University of Calgary, she has ushered a number of new voices onto the Canadian literary scene. Read more

Host: Merilyn Simonds
Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 10:30am
Granville Island Stage

Margaret Atwood’s 1972 volume Survival shaped the way Canadians thought about their own literature. In Survival Atwood wrote, “Why should we be bothered [about Canadian literature]? ... In any self-respecting nation, it [the question] would never even be asked. But that’s one of the problems: Canada isn’t a self-respecting nation and the question does get asked.” On the 40th anniversary of its publication, six significant voices from the Canadian literary scene talk about the flowering of Canadian literature, which has been cause for national pride. The change in attitude and output, especially over the last 20 years, has seen Canadian writers take the international stage, win all the major literary prizes, and become household names far beyond home. How did this flourishing come to be? What does the future hold? 

This event is organized in collaboration with the Canada  Council for the Arts to mark the 2012 edition of the Governor General's Literary Awards.

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