What influence did university journalism and the UBC student newspaper The Ubyssey have on my life and career? I explain, and reminisce, in a new online series of Q&As, part of the Hundred Year Trek project. (The Great Trek was a huge event in Vancouver, BC in 1922, whereby hundreds of students, supported by many businesses and high-profile folk, marched through the city to rally support for the creation of a university in Point Grey. Their efforts helped launch the construction of the University of BC.)
UBC’s Alma Mater Society reached out to me and other former Ubyssey editors, including CBC’s Justin McElroy, to share what our UBC and Ubyssey life was like, what the big campus stories and issues were at the time, etc. I was co-editor of The Ubyssey in 1979-80 — it’s hard to believe that was more than 40 years ago.
As a UBC history graduate who’s worked as an oral historian, written two history books, and loves research, I was delighted to participate in this project. It’s a way to help promote release of the new book The Hundred Year Trek: A History of Student Life at UBC, by Sheldon Goldfarb, archivist for the university’s Alma Mater Society. I haven’t read the book yet but will provide an update when I do.
Click here to read my interview.
Click here to read interviews with four other former Ubyssey editors.
Pre-sales have already started for my incest memoir No Letter in Your Pocket, which will be published in May 2023 by Guernica Editions of Toronto. See sales links below.
Price: $25 CDN
Incest denial and sexual assaults disrupt a young woman’s solo spiritual quest and her two romantic adventures in India in 1990-91. Two decades later, after profound healing, she’s resilient at mid-life. Finding the love and intimacy she craves, she can, at last, forgive her dying father—and her mom, for her decades of silence. Unlike many stories of healing and spiritual discovery, No Letter in Your Pocket avoids predictable recovery rhetoric and insular victimhood. Instead, it is a testament to thriving empowerment.
To read praise for the book by novelist Sylvia Fraser, Dr. Bernie Siegel, and feminist/professor emerita Diana Hume-George, click here.
Through University of Toronto Press
IN THE UNITED STATES:
Through Barnes and Noble
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM:
kway?imin Andy Johnson, the shishalh Nation’s cultural ambassador, drummed and sang one of his original songs, plus told a sasquatch story at my book launch in December 2019 at the Sechelt Library. I profiled him in the fall issue of Coast Life magazine.
In the photo to the right, he holds a copy of my picture book Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch at the Tsain-Ko First Nations Gift Shop in ch’atlich (Sechelt, BC). The book is available for sale there.
Click here to read the profile of kway?imin and to see more photos.
Along with puppets and fun props, I’ll be reading Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch at Gibsons Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 15. Bring the kids for this free 10:30 am event, and they can draw and colour their own Bigfoot character, with a show and tell and Q&A. I’ll have books available for sale and signing.
See you in the Mainil Room. I’ll have a display board of many original illustrations of sasquatches by a variety of artists. Children can use these for inspiration.
I’ll be offering a short webinar on Sunday, Sept. 11 for the creative nonfiction group of the Federation of BC Writers (FBCW). From 10:30 to 11:00 am, I’ll be sharing tips about revealing family secrets and will provide first-hand anecdotes regarding the challenges of writing my incest memoir No Letter in Your Pocket. A short Q&A will follow. Many thanks to the FBCW for inviting me to host this mini-session, which will cover legal, ethical, and other issues.
I’m happy to be back as an in-person instructor at the City of Port Moody, BC, facilitating creative writing classes again. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, it’s great to see some of our regular students again and to meet new faces. It’s a joy to workshop high-quality content in multi-genres from poetry and screenwriting to fiction, historical romance, and nonfiction. Always a delight.
For this session, the weekly program runs from April 4 to June 13, 7 to 8:30 pm.
I am teaching an 8-week, online creative nonfiction class Writing From Pain to Power in the spring of 2022 through the University of King’s College in Halifax. My students are from across the country, writing about real-life traumas in their lives. Most are hoping to publish a memoir or essays. Using a trauma-informed approach, we create a safe, supportive atmosphere that honours everyone’s response to pain and trauma. Class runs from Feb. 23 to April 13.
Click here (scroll to the end) to see the course description.
It was a joy to be back in person teaching at Powell River Digital Film School in early February. Spent two days with the grade 12 students analyzing and discussing short documentaries and learning how to write and conceptualize them. Also did a day of hands-on SoulCollage(R) exercises and learning.
Thoroughly enjoyed the students’ level of awareness of social justice issues and their willingness and courage to share sensitive personal and family stories. I look forward to seeing what films they produce this year.
It was a delight to profile Jessica Silvey, who’s shíshálh and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) with the ancestral name Kwahama Kwatleematt, and has been weaving cedar baskets, hats, and décor for more than 30 years. I profiled her, the owner of Red Cedar Woman studio, as the cover story for the winter 2021 issue of Sunshine Coast Life Magazine.
Click here to read the feature and see photos.
— Heather Conn photo