How Stories Connect Us: Richard Van Camp & Friends

17sep7:00 pm8:00 pmHow Stories Connect Us: Richard Van Camp & FriendsRichard Van Camp, Lisa Bird-Wilson, Tyler Pennock. Moderator: Billy-Ray Belcourt.

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What separates good stories from great ones? This conversation examines the storyteller’s role in community and society, and the transformative power of storytelling as an art form. How do storytelling practices engender a more curious, thoughtful culture? And how can stories connect us in a world suffering from massive disconnect?

Moderated by Billy-Ray Belcourt.

Books featured:

Gather: Richard Van Camp on the Joy of Storytelling
University of Regina Press

Master storyteller and bestselling author Richard Van Camp on how to tell a good story

Gathering around a campfire, or the dinner table, we humans have always told stories. Through the stories we tell, we define our own identities and shape our understanding of the world. Master storyteller and bestselling author Richard Van Camp writes of the power of storytelling and its potential to transform both the speaker and the audience in Gather. Describing the elements required to make a story, he offers insights into how to read a room, how to capture the attention of listeners, how to create community through storytelling, and how to banish loneliness. A member of the Tlicho Dene First Nation, Van Camp includes stories from Elders whose wisdom influenced him.

Probably Ruby
Doubleday Canada

Relinquished as an infant, Ruby is placed in a foster home and finally adopted by Alice and Mel, a less-than-desirable couple who can’t afford to complain too loudly about Ruby’s Indigenous roots. But when her new parents’ marriage falls apart, Ruby finds herself vulnerable and in compromising situations that lead her to search, in the unlikeliest of places, for her Indigenous identity.

Unabashedly self-destructing on alcohol, drugs and bad relationships, Ruby grapples with the meaning of the legacy left to her. In a series of expanding narratives, Ruby and the people connected to her tell their stories and help flesh out Ruby’s history. Seeking understanding of how we come to know who we are, Probably Ruby explores how we find and invent ourselves in ways as peculiar and varied as the experiences of Indigenous adoptees themselves. Ruby’s voice, her devastating honesty and tremendous laugh, will not soon be forgotten.

Probably Ruby is a perfectly crafted novel, with effortless, nearly imperceptible shifts in time and perspective, exquisitely chosen detail, natural dialogue and emotional control that results in breathtaking levels of tension and points of revelation.

Brick Books

Poems about a young two-spirit Indigenous man moving through shadow and trauma toward strength and awareness. Bones, Tyler Pennock’s wise and arresting debut, is about the ways we process the traumas of our past, and about how often these experiences eliminate moments of softness and gentleness. Here, the poems journey inward, guided by the world of dreams, seeking memories of a loving sister lost beneath layers of tragedy and abuse. With bravery, the poems stand up to the demons lurking in the many shadows of their lines, seeking glimpses of a good that is always just out of reach. At moments heartrending and gut-punching, at others still and sweet, Bones is a collection of deep and painstaking work that examines the human spirit in all of us. This is a hero’s journey and a stark look at the many conditions of the soul. This is a book for survivors, for fighters, for dreamers, and for believers. “Here is a spare and urgent voice that speaks of ‘wounds and beauty,’ that gestures to a story of trauma and abuse while offering us a potent journey of self-reckoning and reclamation.

A History of My Brief Body
Hamish Hamilton

Opening with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life on the Driftpile First Nation, Billy-Ray Belcourt delivers a searing account of Indigenous life that’s part love letter, part rallying cry.
With the lyricism and emotional power of his award-winning poetry, Belcourt cracks apart his history and shares it with us one fragment at a time. He shines a light on Canada’s legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it. He revisits sexual encounters, ruminates on first loves and first loves lost, and navigates the racial politics of gay hookup apps. Among the hard truths he distills, the outline of a brighter future takes shape.
Bringing in influences from James Baldwin to Ocean Vuong, this book is a testament to the power of language—to devastate us, to console us, to help us grieve, to help us survive. Destined to be dog-eared, underlined, treasured, and studied for years to come, A History of My Brief Body is a stunning achievement from one of this generation’s finest young minds.


(Friday) 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm