Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Carleton University1125 Colonel By Dr,

The Munro Beattie Lecture with Joseph Boyden

The Munro Beattie Lecture with Joseph Boyden

Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Dr,
Joseph Boyden

PLEASE NOTE: Admission for this event is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:30 PM

After shooting to literary fame with his first novel, Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his second, Through Black Spruce. His most recent novel, The Orenda, was nominated for both the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award, and was the winning title on CBC Radio’s Canada Reads competition in 2014.   


Boyden’s fiction focuses on the historical and contemporary experiences of Ontario First Nations peoples. Three Day Road tells the story of two Native men, Xavier Bird and Elijah Weesageechak, who fight with the Canadian army in the First World War, and foregrounds a perspective often ignored in Canadian accounts of that conflict. Through Black Spruce continues to chronicle the Bird family into contemporary Canada by telling the story of Will Bird, a bush pilot who lies unconscious in a Northern Ontario hospital. Set in the 17th century, The Orenda explores the devastating effects of European colonization on aboriginal peoples by narrating the story of the dispersal of the Wendat people through the perspectives of Bird, a Wendat warrior and statesman, the Haudenosaunee captive he adopts as his daughter, and a charismatic Jesuit missionary.


With a background that is mostly Irish-Catholic but also includes some Métis and Micmac ancestry, Boyden has said that he identifies with an Anishnabe sense of humanity’s debt to, rather than its domination of, the environment, and this comes across in all of his work. As a character in The Orenda puts it, “there is nothing in this world that needs us for its survival. We aren’t the masters of the earth. We’re the servants” (163).  


Known as a highly engaging public speaker, Boyden’s talk at Carleton will focus on his journey as an artist and his reflections on the creative process.

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