Laughter Is the Best Medicine

28may4:00 pm5:00 pmLaughter Is the Best MedicineWith Annahid Dashtgard, John Brady McDonald, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Ken Hall

Speakers for this event

  • Annahid Dashtgard

    Annahid Dashtgard


    Annahid is CEO of Anima Leadership, an award-winning equity and inclusion company. Bones of Belonging is a collection of sharp, funny and poignant stories of what it’s like to be a Brown woman working for change in a white world, building on her best-selling memoir, Breaking the Ocean.



  • John Brady McDonald

    John Brady McDonald


    John Brady McDonald is a Nêhiyawak-Métis writer, artist, historian, musician, playwright, actor and activist born and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He is from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and the Mistawasis Nêhiyawak. He is the author of several books, his latest is Carrying It Forward: Essays from Kistahpinânihk. John lives in Northern Saskatchewan.



  • ryan fitzpatrick

    ryan fitzpatrick


    Ryan Fitzpatrick is the publisher of the online-based and poetry-focused Model Press. He was on the editorial collective of filling Station magazine and helped found the Flywheel Reading Series. He is the author of four books of poetry, including Sunny Ways (Invisible Publishing) and Coast Mountain Foot (Talonbooks). A former resident of Calgary and Vancouver, ryan now lives in Toronto.


Event Details

One of the best ways humans have to face challenging situations is to laugh about them. Why do we make jokes to cope, and what does a sense of humour have to say about human resilience? Join three authors who employ humour to bring empathy and understanding to even the most dire of circumstances.

Bones of Belonging by Annahid Dashtgard
Dundurn Press

In a series of deft interlocking stories, Annahid Dashtgard shares her experiences searching for, and teaching about, belonging in our deeply divided world. A critically acclaimed, racialized immigrant writer and recognized inclusion leader, Dashtgard writes with wisdom, honesty, and a wry humour as she considers what it means to belong — to a country, in a marriage, in our own skin — and what it means when belonging is absent. Like the bones of the human body, these stories knit together a remarkable vision of what wholeness looks like as a racial outsider in a culture still dominated by whiteness.

Carrying It Forward by John Brady McDonald
Wolsak & Wynn

John Brady McDonald has lived in Kistahpinânihk, an area that includes Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, for nearly all his life. A member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and a grandson of Métis leader Jim Brady, John has worked to move carefully between these two nations – to learn their stories, honour their traditions and reclaim their languages, all of which were nearly lost to him. In this wide-ranging collection he looks at everything from his experience of residential school to northern firefighting to his time in the United Kingdom, where he “discovered” and “claimed” the island for the First Peoples of the Americas. In these compelling essays, John pulls us deep into the life he has lived in Kistahpinânihk and asks us to consider what life could be like in a New North Territory.

Sunny Ways by ryan fitzpatrick
Invisible Publishing

Standing waist deep in the massive tailing ponds of Alberta’s Tar Sands, Sunny Ways wades through the tangled complicities of climate catastrophe. In the process, the book grapples with the failure of political hope and the intransigence of climate change denialism. Fitzpatrick channels his experiences growing up in the big sky economic pragmatism of Calgary, where oil pays the rent and puts food on the table, into an essayistic pair of long poems that echo the ecological poetics of writers like Rita Wong, Stephen Collis, and Juliana Spahr.


Accessibility Sponsor: Wolsak & Wynn