Year-Round Events 2007

tuesday, april 28






    With Stephanie Nolen

    For the past six years, Stephanie Nolen has traced the course of the world's worst pandemic. Her new book, 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa, is the result: an unprecedented, uniquely human portrait of the continent in crisis. Through riveting anecdotes, she brings to life men, women and children involved in every AIDS arena, explores the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in scope, and tells us why we must care about what happens.

tuesday, may 15




    With Hamida Ghafour

    Hamida fled Kabul with her parents as a small child in 1981. In 2003 she returned as a correspondent for The Globe and Mail. Over the next 14 months she traveled the country as a reporter, seeing more of the place which she, her parents and grandparents had once called home. Her book, The Sleeping Buddha, offers an original examination of the paradox that is Afghanistan - a country of hope and resignation, a nation continually hungry for change but trapped in a continuum of historical chaos, a once-great civilization stepping back from the brink.

wednesday, may 16



    An Evening with Michael Ondaatje

    Ottawa's Elizabeth Hay hosts an evening with one of the world's most acclaimed authors, Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje, reading from his eagerly anticipated new novel, Divisadero, and answering audience questions. This event is presented in collaboration with Collected Works.

tuesday, may 29



    With Alexandre Trudeau

    Alexandre Trudeau revisits China to put a ground-breaking journey into a fresh, contemporary context. In 1960, Pierre Trudeau and Jacques Hébert, a labour lawyer and a journalist from Montréal, travelled to China in the midst of The Great Leap Forward. In 1968, when Two Innocents in Red China, their sardonic look at a third world country's first steps towards modernization was released in English, Trudeau had just become Prime Minister of Canada. Four decades later, China's emergence as an economic and military heavyweight enticed Trudeau's journalist son Alexandre to retrace his father's footsteps and add additional material to the book. The result is a thought-provoking new perspective on the Canadian classic.

    Click here for a slideshow and soundbite from this event, on John W. MacDonald's website.




    With Andrew Cohen

    In The Unfinished Canadian, Andrew Cohen delves into our past and present in search of our defining national characteristics. He questions hoary shibboleths, soothing mythologies, and old saws with irreverence, humour, and flintiness, unencumbered by our proverbial politeness (itself a great misperception) and our suffocating political correctness. We are so much, in so many shades, and it’s time we took an honest look at ourselves. In this provocative, passionate, and elegant book, Cohen argues that our mythology, our jealousy, our complacency, our apathy, our amnesia, and our moderation are all part of the unbearable lightness of being Canadian.

wednesday, August 22

7:30 PM

    An evening with Paul Watson
    Hosted by the Ottawa Citizen's Kate Heartfield

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist takes us on a personal and historic journey. Paul Watson was born a rebel with one hand, who grew up thinking it took two to fire an assault rifle, or play jazz piano. So he became a journalist. At first, he loved war. He fed his lust for the bang-bang by spending vacations with guerilla fighters in Angola, Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia, and writing about conflicts on the frontlines of the Cold War. Soon he graduated to assignments covering some of the world’s most important conflicts, including South Africa, Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Watson reported on Osama bin Laden’s first battlefield victory in Somalia. Unwittingly, Watson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Staff Sgt. David Cleveland — whose Black Hawk was shot down over the streets of Mogadishu — helped hand bin Laden one of his earliest propaganda coups, one that proved barbarity is a powerful weapon in a modern media war. Public outrage over the pictures of Cleveland’s corpse forced President Clinton to order the world’s most powerful military into retreat. With each new beheading announced on the news, Watson wonders whether he helped teach the terrorists one of their most valuable lessons. Much more than a journalist’s memoir, Where War Lives connects the dots of the historic continuum from Mogadishu through Rwanda to Afghanistan and Iraq.


7:30 PM

    With readings from Elizabeth Hay, Alan Cumyn, Scott Randall and Jean van Loon


6:30 PM

saturday, September 22

7:30 PM

    An evening with William Gibson
    Hosted by CBC Radio's Adrian Harewood

    An evening with one of the most acclaimed writers on the planet celebrating his latest novel, Spook Country. In a Starred Review, Publishers Weekly said “Gibson's fine ninth novel offers startling insights into our paranoid and often fragmented, postmodern world... Compelling characters and crisp action sequences, plus the author's trademark metaphoric language, help make this one of Gibson's best.”

sUNday, September 30

7:30 PM

    Hosted by CPAC's Ken Rockburn

    A great conversation can offer insight into the hearts and minds of its participants. In Random Illuminations, an intimate, wide-ranging collection of conversations (and some correspondence), writer-broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel and her friend, author Carol Shields, touch on both the personal and the professional. Eleanor Wachtel brings together her rich collection of interviews with Carol from that first occasion to Shields's death in 2003. Disarmingly direct, Carol Shields talks about her writing, language and consciousness, and her interest in "redeeming the lives of lost or vanished women," all the while touching on topics as diverse as feminism, raising children, the metaphorical search for a home, and the joys and griefs of everyday life.

friday, november 9

8:00 PM

    At St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities

    A unique meeting of musical minds:

    Ardyth and Jennifer are a Celtic harp duo who first met at a traditional Nova Scotia kitchen party and have been playing traditional and original music together ever since. They weave their folk music heritage with modern influences to create spellbinding performances.

    Gareth Pearson is a teenaged guitar prodigy from Wales whose musical genius has been generating waves on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a rare opportunity to hear a staggering new talent, and see a consummate entertainer in action.

sUNday, November 11

7:30 PM

    With Nathan M. Greenfield and Jack Granatstein

    An evening with two of Canada's most respected military historians on Canada's contribution to the First World War and Canada's military in the 21st century.

    In Baptism of Fire, Nathan M. Greenfield turns his formidable storytelling skill to one of the defining battles of the First World War and a seminal event in the building of our country. The Second Battle of Ypres pitted the highly trained German soldiers - armed with the first weapon of mass destruction, chlorine gas - against the 1st Canadian Division, which had been in the trenches for just over a week. Yet it was the Canadians who ultimately triumphed, stopping the German advance that followed history's first poison-gas attacks. Greenfield explains how the untried Canadians, with their defective Ross rifles, breathing through urine-soaked handkerchiefs, successfully made one of the most important stands of the war - perhaps even staving off an ultimate German victory. Jack Granatstein's book, Who Killed Canadian History?, includes a hard-hitting, timely clarion call to arms, which argues that Canadians' once-vaunted role of peacekeeping is no longer relevant in a post-9/11 world, since recent missions, from Somalia to Kosovo to Afghanistan,, are akin to war. Granatstein also takes Canadian attitudes to task, criticizing our increasing reluctance to support a military presence in countries such as Afghanistan.

tuesday, november 13

7:30 PM

    With Christie Blatchford

    Fifteen Days is by far the most deeply personal and startlingly honest account of Canadian soldiers since they first stepped foot in Afghanistan. Uninhibited by the official line, the troops hold nothing back, proving over and over why they are the best PR agents in the military; they also have the most to lose.... The book is so vivid that I could feel the unbearable weight of the fallen. “
    - Lisa LaFlamme, National Affairs Correspondent, CTV National News

    Long before she made her first trip to Afghanistan as an embedded reporter for The Globe and Mail, Christie Blatchford was already one of Canada’s most respected and eagerly read journalists. It is a testament to Christie Blatchford’s skills and integrity that along with the admiration of her readers, she won the respect and trust of the soldiers. They share breathtakingly honest accounts of their desire to serve, their willingness to confront fear and danger in the battlefield, their loyalty towards each other and the heartbreak occasioned by the loss of one of their own. Grounded in insights gained over the course of three trips to Afghanistan in 2006, and drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews not only with the servicemen and -women with whom she shared so much, but with their commanders and family members as well, Christie Blatchford creates a detailed, complex and deeply affecting picture of military life in the twenty-first century.

sUNday, november 18

7:30 PM

    At St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities

    The world needs more William Irwin Thompson and because Ottawa is the centre of our world we have invited this mystic and poet to join us on Sunday, November 18th at St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities.

    Thompson did doctoral research in Dublin and published his first book, The Imagination of an Insurrection: Dublin, Easter 1916, in 1967. Since then he has published prolifically and became a household name in 1972 with At the Edge of History. A cultural historian, a philosopher of science, Thompson founded the Lindisfarne Association that same year and it quickly became a beacon for artists, scholars, scientists and contemplatives dedicated to the realization of a new planetary culture.

    His appearance at St. Brigid's is an exclusive opportunity to hear from one of humanity's most original and insightful minds. He will be reading from Canticum, Turicum, a long poem on Western Civilization, and will participate in an onstage interview and take questions from the audience.

    Join the discussion, meet a rare soul and help build St. Brigid's Centre.

MoNday, november 19

7:30 PM

    With Professor Nikos Metallinos and Ambassador Nikolaos Matsis

    Join Professor Nikos Metallinos and Ambassador Nikolaos Matsis for a tribute to the literary giant Nikos Kazantzakis (1885-1957). Born in Megalokastro, Ottoman Empire, now Iráklion, Crete, Kazantzakis was raised among peasants and although he left Crete as a young man, he returned to his homeland constantly in his writings. A prolific writer, whose works include essays, novels, poems, tragedies, travel books, and translations of such classics as Dante's The Divine Comedy and J.W. von Goethe's Faust. Like his hero, Odysseus, Kazantzakis lived most of his artistic life outside Greece-except for the years of World War II. "I am a mariner of Odysseus with heart of fire but with mind ruthless and clear," Kazantzakis wrote in TODA RABA (1934). Several of the author's novels deal with the history and culture of his own country, and the mystical relationship between man and God. In 1957 he lost the Nobel Prize by a single vote to the French writer Albert Camus. The author of poems, novels, essays, plays, and travel books, he was arguably the most important and most translated Greek writer and philosopher of the 20th century. Yet he did not become truly well known until the 1964 release of the Michael Cacoyannis film Zorba the Greek, based on Kazantzakis' novel.

wednesday, november 21

7:30 PM

    With Warren Kinsella

    Warren Kinsella's new book, The War Room, profiles and analyzes some of the best political warriors and spinners around. He employs personal anecdotes, political wisdom culled from his extensive experience on Liberal Party federal and provincial election campaigns, historical examples from other Canadian and American campaigns, and generous amounts of humour to deliver insight about what it takes to survive challenges not just in politics but in any kind of business or non-governmental agency, whether it sells music, movies, cars, or computers, or raises money to preserve the environment, combat cancer, or save animals.

friday, november 23

7:30 PM

    At St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities

    Winner of the Booker Prize, the Hugh MacLennan Prize and the Journey Prize, Yann Martel returns to celebrate the publication of a new, illustrated edition of his international bestseller Life of Pi. An international competition was held to find the perfect illustrator. From thousands of entrants, Croation artist Tomislav Torjanac was chosen. The result is a lavishly produced edition which features forty of Torjanac's beautiful illustrations. Join us for a talk and on-stage conversation with one of Canada's most acclaimed authors complimented by images from the book. Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us questions what it means to be alive, and to believe.

Thursday, november 29

7:30 PM

    Michael Peterman in conversation with Charlotte Gray

    “These two women exert a timeless fascination . . . [their] story reminds us, as Canadians, of where we have come from and how far we have travelled.”
    —Charlotte Gray, in the introduction to Sisters in Two Worlds.

    Acclaimed author Charlotte Gray discusses the life and times of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill with Michael Peterman, author of Sisters in Two Worlds: a Visual Biography of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill. Containing two hundred colour and black-and-white images, many of them never-before published, this extraordinary book chronicles the lives of two exceptional and inspirational women: sisters, writers, pioneers, and forces of the Canadian imagination. Sisters in Two Worlds recreates the remarkable lives of these two pioneering writers. Its absorbing narrative is complemented by modern colour photographs of the places they knew, combined with archival images, paintings, letters, and family artifacts. Written by Canada’s foremost Moodie/Traill scholar, this visual biography is an informative new look at two of this country’s seminal writers and a remarkable tapestry of life in early Canada.

friday, november 30

7:30 PM

    With Dr. Maria Tippett

    Yousuf Karsh is acknowledged to be the twentieth century's leading portrait photographer. His iconic images of Bogart, Hemingway, Churchill, the Kennedys, Auden, Castro, Einstein, the Clintons, Khrushchev, Casals, and Elizabeth II inhabit the mind's eye of anyone familiar with photographic history. A refugee from the ethnic cleansing of Turkish Armenians in 1916, Karsh made his home in Boston and Ottawa but travelled the globe during his sixty-year career, photographing political leaders, celebrities, monarchs, and movie stars. He died in 2002, aged 94. He left a legacy of 50,000 portraits. Maria Tippett’s new book, Portrait in Light and Shadow: The Life of Yousuf Karsh, is the first biography, written with help from his family and colleagues and based on the Karsh archive in Ottawa, and reveals the technique behind the camera and the brilliant mastery of the photographer.

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