“The Fiction Makes Us Real”: A Celebration of Canadian Literature with poet, writer and critic Nicole Markotić


The Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies in collaboration with the Lifelong Learning Centre at the University of Leeds are delighted to announce the forthcoming visit to the UK of the Canadian poet, fiction writer and literary critic Nicole Markotić (University of Windsor, Canada).


Nicole is the author of the poetry books connect the dots, Minotaurs & Other Alphabets, Bent at the Spine, and the chapbooks widows & orphans, more excess (which won the bpNichol Chapbook Award), he & [he], and tracking the game. Her fiction includes Yellow Pages, Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot, and short stories in various literary journals. Her interests include representations of disability, feminist critical and body theory, and twentieth-century Canadian and North American literature and poetics.

Do join us for an evening of entertainment and literary delight at the Lifelong Learning Centre on Canada Day, 1st July 2015, 6-8 pm. Nicole will take us on a whirlwind tour of Canadian literature and treat us to readings of her own work and some other Canadian favourites.

The event is free, but we encourage you to book your seat in advance at http://www.llc.leeds.ac.uk/events/the-fiction-makes-us-real-an-introduction-to-canadian-literature


Yorkshire’s literary tryst with Toronto’s Don valley

Alissa York in Huddersfield

Alissa York in Huddersfield

“On Monday 16th February Alissa York entertained an enthusiastic Huddersfield audience, who had braved a cold and dark Monday night to come and hear her talk about and read from Fauna. For over an hour Alisa kept us engaged with a combination of anecdote, insights into the writer’s craft, and readings from the novel. With the image of Billy crunching rabbit bones echoing in our ears, we enjoyed Alissa’s impromptu mapping of Toronto on a flipchart, helping us to situate Fauna and its motley collection of people and animals within the rivers, ravines and built environment of the city. Alissa presented disturbing accounts of her research into animal trafficking and exploitation and, after reading extracts where she offers the perspective of the animal, answered questions about the politics and ethics of the relationship between animal and human. Some of the audience had read the book and appreciated the different perspectives Alissa’s talk offered; others went away determined to read Fauna at the earliest opportunity.”  (Dr. Sarah Falcus, University of Huddersfield)

Reading Between the Sheets – Aritha Van Herk in Huddersfield

‘The Eloquence of Laundry’ was the title of this, the third talk in Aritha’s tour.  She spoke to a packed house of students, lecturers, teachers and other readers.  Despite a few technical glitches, Aritha waltzed through a dizzying variety of representations of laundry in photography, art and film.  From Venice to India, and from Warwick to the Canadian backwoods, we saw hanging laundry and the act of laundering as an expression of the inevitability of grime, the sensuality of colour and cloth and of domestic pride in women. From Paul McCartney displaying his working class roots, through Odysseus’ encounter with laundering sirens, to Canadian settlers ‘advertising’ for women through being photographed with their scrubbing board, we saw a fascinating array of portrayals of masculinity through the depiction of laundry. It was a rich, inspiring  and thought provoking talk.  Everybody who attended loved it, and we could all have talked for hours afterwards.  Aritha is here for two more events in Yorkshire tonight and tomorrow, so do check the companion blog entries for details of those, and do come along if you can.  We’re also hoping to have some contributions from attending dissertation students and alumni, with  a view of Aritha’s talks from the perspective of their own research area, which will be really exciting …. So watch this space!

Aritha Van Herk – “After the War – The Secret Survival of Gavrilo Princip” – April 7th at Headingley Library


YNCS are delighted to announce this event. As part of Headingley Litfest, Aritha will be reading from her latest book, “After the War – The Secret Survival of Gavrilo Princip”. Gavrilo Princip (1895-1918) was a Serbian nationalist who became the catalyst for World War I when he assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. The murder started a chain reaction that led to the beginning of the war only one month later.

This is a public event, and anybody is welcome to come. Aritha is renowned for her fictional, non-fictional and critical work, so this is a great opportunity to see an international speaker at an intimate venue. There will be an opportunity to ask questions after the reading so, whatever your interests, please do join us.

April 7th, 7-9 pm at Headingley Library

Aritha Van Herk – “Restlessness Incarnate: Good Girls go to Heaven, Bad Girls go Everywhere” – April 9th at Leeds City Museum


Who could resist a talk with a title like this? YNCS, together with the University of Leeds are delighted to host Aritha for this talk that will explore restless and movement with emphasis on what it means to be a writer in Canada. As Aritha herself describes:

“Restlessness and movement are incited by the temper and the spirit of extensive spaces, stretching as they do in a proposal of endless destination, or even more telling, traversal without terminus, a constant and rolling journey’s end that need never propose itself as closure or obstacle. The geographical complexity of Canada, the second-largest country in the world, with multiple temptations for episodes of motion sickness, that malaise that I define as the eagerness to change
position rather than the nausea inspired by movement, inscribes on its writing a picaresque dream. This yearning encompasses a desire to flee, towards or away– the inclination can controvert and double back on its own impetus. This desire can be enunciated by a picaresque vernacular: an urge to take to one’s heels, to hightail down the road, to scamper and bolt, hotfoot and skedaddle, split or make tracks. In short, good girls go to heaven but bad girls go everywhere!” Aritha van Herk

This exciting event will be held at Leeds City Museum, and there will be the chance to speak with Aritha over a glass of wine after the talk. The event is free, but space (and wine!) are limited, so please book your place by emailing Jessica Ballantine at enjlb@leeds.ac.uk.

Leeds City Museum – 6.30pm April 9th

Aritha Van Herk – “The Expanding and Expansive Canadian Story: Floored by Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant.” – April 3rd at the Canadian High Commission, London

We’re really excited that this award-winning Canadian author and critic’s tour has its opening event at the Canadian High Commission in Grosvener Square in London.
The Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies and the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom are excited to announce a discussion with Aritha, who will be presenting “The Expanding and Expansive Canadian Story: Floored by Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant.”. This talk will be from the perspective of a writer reading and rereading the work of the two illustrious Canadian short story writers. Dr Catherine Bes will be chairing this talk on behalf of the Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies. Space is limited for this special event, so please do RSVP if you’ve had an invitation, or contact Catherine at c.bates@hud.ac.uk to enquire about availability of places.

Thursday, 3rd April, 2014. 10:30-12:00
with coffee and tea provided
Canadian High Commission
Macdonald House
1 Grosvenor Square
London W1K 4AB