Beyond Literary Landscapes—Canada Reads 2022

Part I

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.

Who

Typically, this column serves as an introduction to the works of novelists, educators, and scholars, certain countries, or certain literary themes.  Continuing on my previous weeks’ shift of this column, I will be focusing on my personal reads of the season.  This week, I have read several selections from Canada Reads 2022, including Michelle Good, Clayton Thomas-Müller, and Vivek Shraya.

Canada Reads is a yearly literary competition by the CBC that has been taking place for the past 18 years.  Books are chosen by a rotating panel of judges, with suggestions by the CBC Books Team based on their preferences and profiles.

This year’s winner, Michelle Good “is of Cree ancestry, a descendent of the Battle River Cree and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation.”  A graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing, Good is also known for her short stories and poetry.  The author’s award-wining works can be found on her website.

Author and well-known activist Clayton Thomas-Müller “is a member of the Treaty #6 based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan located in Northern Manitoba, Canada.”  The author has campaigned for climate justice and “has campaigned on behalf of Indigenous peoples around the world for more than 20 years.”

Vivek Shraya “is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film.”  The award-winning artist is also an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary and “the founder of the award-winning publishing imprint VS.  Books, which supports emerging BIPOC writers.”

What

Some of my current reads from Canada Reads 2022 have been Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller, and People Change by Vivek Shraya.

Where

Many of these works are set throughout Canada.

When

These works take place during the 20 and 21-centuries.

Why

These works may be of interest to readers who would like to know more about resilience, change, transformation, family, connection, and Canada’s colonial past and present.

How

AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to these reads are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may consider ENGL 308: Indigenous Literature in Canada, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “begins with the origins of Indigenous literature in the oral tradition and leads to contemporary Indigenous writing in English.”  It “also examines related areas such as findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), released in 2015.”  (Note that this course requires ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays as prerequisites.)

Students may also consider ENGL 211: Prose Forms, a junior-level, three-credit course, which “examine a variety of fictional works in prose.”  (No prerequisites are required, although students are encouraged to take ENGL 255: Introductory Composition.)  Happy reading!

 

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