Year-Round Events 2008

Wednesday, January 16

7:30 PM





    With Kevin Patterson

    A remarkable collection of first-hand accounts written by soldiers, doctors and aid workers on the front lines of Canada's war in Afghanistan.

    Collected here are stories of battle and the more subtle engagements of this little-understood war: the tearful farewells; the shock of immersion into a culture that has been at war for thirty years; looking a suicide bomber in the eye the moment before he strikes; grappling with mortality in the Kandahar Field Hospital; and the unexpected humour that leavens life in a warzone.

    Visceral, intimate and capitavating in ways no other telling could be, Outside the Wire features nearly two dozen stories by Canadians on the front lines in Afghanistan, including the previously unpublished letters home of Captain Nichola Goddard, the first female NATO soldier killed in combat.

Friday, February 8

7:30 PM



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

    Dr. Mary Condren is a pioneer in the renaissance of Celtic Mythology. Her revolutionary work, "The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland," is a landmark in the study of world culture. In our reimagination of the world Dr. Condren suggests a way forward that acknowledges the past and embraces the new millennium. Power, sexuality and economics are forever entwined in our contemporary narrative. Join us in a celebration of life and an evening of widening rings of being. From 7:00 to 7:30, Pat Marshall will also open the evening, playing the harp.

    Presented by St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities with the support of the Writers Festival, Carleton University's College of the Humanities (Religion), and the University of Ottawa's Department of Classics and Religious Studies and Faculty of Arts.

thursday, February 21

7:30 PM


    Hosted by Adrian Harewood

    Don't miss this first-hand account of a brutal war and the terrible ordeal of the Canadians tasked with maintaining an impossible peace. Deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as a peacekeeper in 1995, Fred Doucette had a premonition that this tour of duty would be different from anything he had experienced so far. And it was: "This was the beginning of the end of the Fred I had been for forty-three years." Thousands of Sarajevans, trapped in their beloved city, perished. Billeted with a Bosnian family, Fred was offered a window into the soul of Sarajevo that few outsiders were granted. When the war ended, he returned to Canada. And another war began. Nightmares and flashbacks of violence and chaos plagued his days and nights. Traumatized by the horrors of Bosnia, Fred had to face himself, his family and his army once again. But now there was no turning away, no diversion in another foreign posting. Empty Casing is the story of the making and unmaking of a soldier, and the growth of a man.

Saturday, march 15

2:00 PM


    by rob mclennan
    at Nicholas Hoare Bookstore

    A free event - trivia contest, great prizes!

    Witty and urbane, this Unknown City book takes readers on a beguiling journey through Ottawa's past, present and future - warts and all.

4:00 PM


    With Neil Shubin
    Hosted by Dr. Stephen Cumbaa

    "With infectious enthusiasm, unfailing clarity, and laugh-out-loud humor, Neil Shubin has created a book on paleontology, genetics, genomics, and anatomy that is almost impossible to put down. In telling the story of why we are who we are, Shubin does more than show us our inner fish; he awakens and excites the inner scientist in us all.”
    —Pauline Chen, author of Final Exam

    Join us for a journey into the 3.5-billion-year history of the human body. Why do we look the way we do? What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly? Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way? To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today's most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish.

    Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish and a leading paleontologist and professor of anatomy who discovered Tiktaalik—the "missing link" that made headlines around the world in April 2006—tells the story of evolution by tracing the organs of the human body back millions of years, long before the first creatures walked the earth. By examining fossils and DNA, Shubin shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our head is organized like that of a long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genome look and function like those of worms and bacteria.

thursday, may 1

7:30 PM


    Featuring Steven Galloway, Anthony De Sa
    and André Alexis

    Tickets: $15 General / $12 Students and Seniors
    Free for Festival Members

    Three of Canada’s finest writers join us to celebrate the launches of their latest books.

    Readings followed by a moderated on-stage conversation with plenty of time for audience questions.

wednesday, may 7

6:00 PM



    Tickets: $15 General / $12 Students and Seniors
    Free for Festival Members

    Israel: A History, well written and unencumbered by academic jargon, adds a great deal to our understanding of the forces that have shaped present-day Israel. It should be required reading for anyone interested in the causes of the present impasse in the peace process and in the internal politics that continue to fragment Israeli society.”
    - The Philadelphia Inquirer

    Israel is a small and relatively young country, but since the day of its creation sixty years ago, its turbulent history has placed it at the centre of the world stage. Join us for a discussion with Sir Martin Gilbert, the author of more than seventy books and a leading historian of the modern world, who traces Israel’s history from the struggles of its pioneers in the nineteenth century to the present day. Along the way, he describes the defining moments in the history of the Jewish people, among them the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the United Nations Partition Resolution of 1947, and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Guiding us through the events that have shaped modern-day Israel, Gilbert examines not only Israel’s political history and personalities from Ben-Gurion to Rabin, Peres, and Netanyahu, but also its society, culture, and economy.

wednesday, may 14

7:30 PM


    Mel Hurtig in conversation with Lawrence Martin

    Tickets: $12 General / $10 Students and Seniors
    Free for Festival Members

    Mel Hurtig, author of The Truth About Canada, in conversation with acclaimed journalist and author Lawrence Martin. Join the conversation on how Canada has changed in the last twenty years. Renowned as a passionate Canadian, Mel Hurtig, bestselling author and member of the Order of Canada, has combed through world statistics to see how Canada really measures up — and his results are astonishing, and often shocking.

    How do we rank in the world in voter turnout? Try 109th. Number of physicians per 100,000 population? Try 54th. Our rank in reducing pollution? 126th out of 146 countries. Is this the Canada we want? If not, how can Canada become the nation we want it to be?

wednesday, may 17 - SPOTLIGHT ON TIBET

3:30 PM


    Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities

    Tickets: $15 General / $12 Students and Seniors
    Free for Festival Members

    One of the most acclaimed and perceptive observers of globalism and Buddhism shares an intimate portrait of the Dalai Lama’s work and ideas as a politician, scientist, and philosopher.

    Pico Iyer has been engaged in conversation with the Dalai Lama (a friend of his father’s) for the last three decades—an ongoing exploration of his message and its effectiveness. Now, in this insightful, impassioned book, Iyer captures the paradoxes of the Dalai Lama’s position: though he has brought the ideas of Tibet to world attention, Tibet itself is being remade as a Chinese province; though he was born in one of the remotest, least developed places on earth, he has become a champion of globalism and technology. He is a religious leader who warns against being needlessly distracted by religion; a Tibetan head of state who suggests that exile from Tibet can be an opportunity; an incarnation of a Tibetan god who stresses his everyday humanity.

    Moving from Dharamsala, India—the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile—to Lhasa, Tibet, to venues in the West, Pico Iyer, author of The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, illuminates the hidden life, the transforming ideas, and the daily challenges of a global icon.

5:30 PM


    Provided by Haveli Indian Restaurant
    Saint Brigid's Centre Parish Hall

    Join us downstairs in the Parish Hall for delicious Indian food from Haveli and a gallery of Jeff Fuchs's stunning photography from his journey through the Himalayas.

7:00 PM



    Photographer Jeff Fuchs shares the story of his 8-month, 6000 km journey through the Himalayas.

    Having lived for much of the past decade in Asia, Jeff Fuchs' work has centered on indigenous mountain peoples and Asian traditions, with a particular addictive emphasis on tea. Jeff has just penned a book of his 8-month, 6000 km journey through the Himalayas, along Asia's fabled Tea Horse Road.

    The Ancient Tea Horse Road, a twelve-hundred-year-old route, winds its way through some of the most unforgiving terrain on earth. Documenting his travels in rich and eloquent detail, with stunning photography, Fuchs brings to life a path that has been an escape route, trade highway, and an adventure destination, battling frostbite, snow blindness, and hunger along the way.

    Jeff's vibrant photos and stories have appeared in World Geographic, The Earth, Voyage, New Ideas, Outdoor Exploration, New Traveler, Outpost and the China Post newspaper. Work has taken him to the Arctic, South America, Asia, Europe and ultimately found him a home in the eastern Himalayas.

FRIday, june 6

7:30 PM


    Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities
    (Saint Patrick at Cumberland)
    Presented with the Royal Netherlands Embassy
    and the AB Series

    Tickets: $15 General / $12 Students and Seniors
    Free for Festival Members

    With an introductory performance by the Max Middle Sound Project (Max Middle and John Lavery.)

    Dutch composer, performer and sound poet Jaap Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom in improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. He has performed in many European countries, as well as in the U.S. and Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and Latin America. With the use of live electronics the scope and range of his concerts has acquired a considerable extension.
  • Click here to read the article in the Ottawa Xpress.

Wednesday, August 27

7:00 PM





  • Book Launch: Dark Days: Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror
    With Kerry Pither
    Library and Archives Auditorium, 395 Wellington Street
    Alcohol-Free reception and signing begins at 6:00 PM

    A Free Event

    Join host Ken Rockburn and outspoken human rights advocate Kerry Pither for a roundtable on Canadian national security investigations, featuring Shirley Heafey, former two-term Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP and former Head of Investigations of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee; Sheema Khan, Globe and Mail columnist and former Chair of the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations; Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada; and Jeff Sallot, Professor of Journalism at Carleton University and former Globe and Mail Senior Political Correspondent.

    Kerry Pither's controversial new book, Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror, tells the story of Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki, Maher Arar and Muayyed Nureddin, who were accused of terrorist links, then imprisoned abroad, tortured and interrogated with questions that point to Canada’s involvement in the process. All were eventually released without charge. Through first-person testimonials and government records, Kerry Pither argues that what happened to these men is rooted in a systemic pattern of complicity in torture, and cannot be explained away as coincidence or a series of mistakes.

    Dark Days exposes a disturbing record of human-rights abuses, both at home and abroad, and ultimately questions our notion of the “Just Society”. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get beyond the headlines and explore the full story – from their first encounters with CSIS and the RCMP, to their overseas incarceration, torture and interrogation, to their eventual release and the long wait for answers.

Friday, September 5

7:30 PM



  • A Short History of the New World Order
    With Ronald Wright
    Hosted by Adrian Harewood
    Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street

    $15 General, $10 Student or Senior, Free for Members

    Join CBC Radio’s Adrian Harewood and Ronald Wright, the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of A Short History of Progress, for a fresh, passionate look at the past and future of the world’s most powerful nation. His new book, What Is America?, reframes the debate about our neighbour and ourselves. The USA is now the world’s lone superpower, whose deeds could make or break this century. For better and worse, America has Americanized the world. How did a marginal frontier society, in a mere two centuries, become the de facto ruler of the world? Why do America’s great achievements in democracy, prosperity and civil rights now seem threatened by forces within itself?

Sunday, September 7

7:30 PM



  • The Gift of Thanks
    With Margaret Visser
    At St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities
    (314 St. Patrick, at Cumberland)

    $15 General, $10 Student or Senior, Free for Members

    Margaret Visser, the award-winning author of Much Depends on Dinner and The Geometry of Love, shares her exploration of gratitude as a key to understanding the assumptions, hopes, preferences and fears that underlie our everyday behaviour. Her new book, The Gift of Thanks, reflects on North American customs and argues that our own notions of gratitude influence a wide range of traditions, such as the wrapping of gifts, the ritual of Remembrance Day ceremonies and even the exchange of compliments. Join us for an evening of extraordinary insights into gratefulness that will leave you both thankful and newly aware of the power of those two important words.

Sunday, September 14

7:00 PM



  • What is Food?
    featuring Adam Leith Gollner and Taras Grescoe
    with finger food from A Culinary Conspiracy
    at Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities
    (314 St. Patrick, at Cumberland)

    Hosted by Kate Heartfield

    Tickets: $20 General / $15 Student or Senior
    Free for Festival Members

    All money raised will support children's literacy in Ottawa.

    In an era of global markets and growing concerns about factory farming, pesticides and the search for a sustainable lifestyle, we turn to two global souls for the answer to the question: What is Food? Our evening begins with delicious and sustainable finger-food from A Culinary Conspiracy, followed by a main-course discussion on the food we eat and how it finds its way to our table, and concludes with delectable desserts from Bread and Roses.

    On the menu:
  • Smoked halibut with apple and beet chutney on wilted baby arugula
  • Seared arctic char with braised leek and roasted red pepper coulis on crostini
  • Summer Melon Medley with balsamic reduction and cilantro oil drizzle

  • dessert by Bread and Roses

    An intrepid journalist and keen observer of nature -- both human and botanical -- Adam Leith Gollner shares vivid tales of horticultural obsession. Delicious, lethal, hallucinogenic and medicinal, fruits have led nations to war, fueled dictatorships and lured people into new worlds. His book, The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession, an expedition through the fascinating world of fruit, is the engrossing story of some of Earth's most desired foods. Adam Leith Gollner examines the fruits we eat and explains why we eat them (the scientific, economic and aesthetic reasons); traces the life of mass-produced fruits (how they are created, grown and marketed) and explores the underworld of fruits that are inaccessible, ignored and even forbidden in the Western world.

    Taras Grescoe has gone fishing in the world’s oceans and rivers, and he’s caught a big one—several of them in fact. In his epicurean and ethically driven quest for the perfect seafood dish, he nets some shocking discoveries about the fish we eat, where they come from and the often slimy inner workings of the multi-billion dollar industry that depends on them. Taras Grescoe has written extensively on travel and exotic food from around the world. His latest book, Bottomfeeder, is a food lover's highly entertaining and provocative delight, written by an intrepid adventurer who loves to dish on what's delicious, exciting and ethically digestible.

Thursday, September 18

7:30 PM



  • Freehand Books Launch
    Featuring Marina Endicott, Jeanette Lynes, Saleema Nawaz and Susan Olding
    Hosted by Melanie Little, Editor of Freehand Books
    Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington
    A Free Event

    Reception at 7:30, reading at 8:00

    Join the Writers Festival in celebrating the debut of Freehand books!

    In Good to a Fault, a novel reminiscent of the work of Penelope Lively, Ann Tyler, and Alice Munro, acclaimed author Marina Endicott gives us one of the most satisfying, most profound, and most memorable reads of the year.

    In It's Hard Being Queen, her fourth book of poetry, one of Canada's best-loved poets takes on one of the most compelling divas of our time. In sixty-one audacious poems, Jeanette Lynes re-imagines and reanimates the peripatetic art, life, and times of Dusty Springfield.

    The seven stories and two novellas in Mother Superior are a heady blend of misfits and mothers, of sisters and complex, mysterious others. Saleema Nawaz traces the scars left by family secrets and sings the complex, captivating language of lust and of love.

    In Pathologies, a collection of fifteen searingly honest personal essays, debut author Susan Olding takes us on an unforgettable journey into the complex heart of being human. Each essay dissects an aspect of Olding's life experience, written with lyricism, detail, and artfulness.

Tuesday, october 7

7:00 PM



  • Book Launch: Beyond the Great Wall:
    Recipes and Travels in the Other China
    by Naomi Duguid
    Nicholas Hoare, 419 Sussex Drive
    A Free Event

    Don't miss the Ottawa launch of a bold and eye-opening new book of magnificent photos, unforgettable stories and exotic home-cooking from the most ethnically diverse, geographically varied and intriguing regions of China. Beyond the Great Wall is a rich mosaic of recipes, photos and stories–a must-have for every food lover, and an inspiration for cooks and armchair travellers alike.

    In the West, when we think about food in China, what usually comes to mind are the signature dishes of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. But beyond the urbanized eastern third of China lie the high open spaces and sacred places of Tibet, the Silk Road oases of Xinjiang, the steppes of Inner Mongolia, and the steeply terraced hills of Yunnan and Guizhou. The peoples who live in these regions are culturally distinct, with their own history and their own unique culinary traditions. In Beyond the Great
    , the inimitable duo of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid – who first met as young travellers in Tibet – bring home the enticing flavours of this other China.

wednesday, october 15

7:30 PM

    Nicholas Hoare Books, 419 Sussex Drive
    A Free Event

    Join us for the launch of the first ever biography of one of Canada’s best-known and most colourful personalities by Brian McKillop, Chancellor’s Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Carleton University, and one of Canada’s leading historians.

wednesday, october 29

7:00 PM

    in conversation with Rudy Wiebe, Andrew Cohen and Charlotte Gray
    Canadian Museum of Civilization

    $15 General / $10 Student or Senior / Free for Members

Thursday, october 30

7:30 PM


    Victoria Glendinning
    in conversation with Charlotte Gray

    Library and Archives, Room A

    $15 General / $10 Student or Senior / Free for Members

Wednesday, November 5

7:30 PM


    One on One with MG Vassanji
    Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities

    (314 Saint Patrick)

    M G Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before coming to Canada in 1978, he attended MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in theoretical nuclear physics. From 1978-1980 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Atomic Energy of Canada, and from 1980 to 1989 he was a research associate at the University of Toronto. During this period he developed a keen interest in medieval Indian literature and history, co-founded and edited a literary magazine (The Toronto South Asian Review, later renamed The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad), and began writing stories and a novel. In 1989, with the publication of his first novel, The Gunny Sack, he was invited to spend a season at the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. That year ended his active career in nuclear physics. His contributions there he considers modest, in algebraic models and high spin states. The fact that he was never tenured he considers a blessing for it freed him to pursue his literary career.

    Vassanji is the author of six novels and two collections of short stories. His work has appeared in various countries and several languages. His most recent novel, The Assassin's Song, was short-listed for both the Giller Prize and the Governor-General's Prize for best novel in Canada. It has appeared in the US (Knopf) and India (Penguin) and is scheduled to appear in the UK (Canongate).

    $15 General / $10 Student or Senior / Free for Members

Thursday, NOVEMBER 6:

7:00 PM


    with Monia Mazigh
    Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities
    (314 Saint Patrick)

    On September 26, 2002, Maher Arar boarded an American Airlines plane bound for New York, returning early from vacation with his family because a work project needed his attention. He was a Canadian citizen, a telecommunications engineer and entrepreneur who had never been in trouble with the law. His nightmare began when he was pulled aside by Immigration officials at JFK airport, questioned, held without access to a lawyer, and ultimately deported to Syria on the suspicion that he had terrorist links. He would remain there, tortured and imprisoned for over one year. Meanwhile his wife, Monia, and their two children stayed on visiting family in Tunisia, unaware that their lives were about to be torn apart.

    Upon her return to Canada, Monia was horrified at the media’s and public’s willingness to assume that the Canadian police and intelligence agencies, and their American counterparts, take on her husband as a terrorist was correct. She began a tireless campaign to bring public attention and government action to her husband’s plight, eventually turning the tide of public opinion in Arar’s favour, and gaining his release and return to Canada. Of her willingness to speak out, she has said that she was never afraid: “I had lost my life. I didn’t have more to lose.”

    This is a remarkable story of personal courage, and of an extraordinary woman who lets us into her life so that other Canadians can understand the denial of rights and the discarding of human rights her family suffered. Candid, poignant, and inspiring, this is the most important book of the season.

    $15 General / $10 Student or Senior / Free for Member

8:30 PM


    With Sally Armstrong

    Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities
    (314 Saint Patrick)

    Everyone knows that Canada’s military is in Afghanistan, but what they don’t know is how much the average Canadian is contributing to aid efforts in that country. In Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots, respected journalist Sally Armstrong revisits Afghanistan to compare women’s lives pre- and post-Taliban, interviewing Afghan and Western women who are dedicated to improving health, education, culture, religion, and human rights. Armstrong connects these stories with the analysis of experts and considers the grassroots efforts of Canadians and the dedicated tax dollars being spent by the Canadian government. Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots is a moving portrayal of the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan in 2008.

    $15 General / $10 Student or Senior / Free for Member


10:00 AM


    with Stephanie Innes and Harry Endrulat
    Canadian War Museum

    A Bear in War tells the story of "Teddy," a stuffed bear now on display in the Canadian War Museum. Teddy was sent to the front during World War I as a present from twelve-year-old Aileen Rogers to her father Lawrence. In this book, Teddy tells his own story, evoking life in Canada and on the front during the First World War.

    Visitors will get a chance to see artifacts from the "Teddy" exhibit, along with an audiovisual presentation by the authors and a talk by the Museum's World War I historian. Families and children are encouraged to attend and get a glimpse of Canada's history and WWI legacy.

    Tickets: Museum Admission

FRIday, November 21

7:30 PM





  • INDIA, THE WORLD FAMILY AND THE FATE OF THE PLANET with Dr. Ramesh Thakur, bestselling author, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN.

    Part of Saint Brigid's Centre's India Shabaash

saturday, November 22

4:30 PM






    with Dr. Stephen Inglis, Senior curator Canadian Museum of Civilization.

    Part of Saint Brigid's Centre's India Shabaash


7:30 PM






    From one of the world's great geopolitical analysts, a terrifying glimpse of the none-too-distant future, when climate change will force the world's powers into a desperate struggle for advantage and even survival.

    Dwindling resources. Massive population shifts. Natural disasters. Spreading epidemics. Drought. Rising sea levels. Plummeting agricultural yields. Crashing economies. Political extremism. These are some of the expected consequences of runaway climate change in the decades ahead, and any of them could tip the world towards conflict. Prescient, unflinching, and based on exhaustive research and interviews, Climate Wars promises to be one of the most important books of the coming years.

    Tickets: $20 / $15 Student or Senior / Free for Festival Members


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