Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks Street

The Redeeming Things with Kara Stanley and Peter Kavanagh

The Redeeming Things with Kara Stanley and Peter Kavanagh

Christ Church Cathedral
414 Sparks Street
Kara Stanley
Peter Kavanagh - Photo by Debi Goodwin

It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said, “Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.” We are joined by two writers who have had more than their fair share of those “deeper satisfactions” and whose journeys through adversity shine an intimate and inspiring light on hardship, resilience and the human spirit.


In her new book, Fallen: A Trauma, a Marriage, and the Transformative Power of Music , Kara Stanley combines the heart-wrenching narrative of a catastrophic brain and spinal cord injury her husband suffered after a fall with the latest research on the brain. She also describes the transformative role of music both before and during his continuing rehabilitation and his battle to return to work as a professional musician. At the heart of the story is the relationship between Stanley and her husband, as she explores what allows a marriage to grow and thrive amid pain, chaos and uncertainty.


From Peter Kavanagh , the well-known CBC journalist, comes The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times: A Memoir . Diagnosed with paralytic polio as an infant, he suffered permanent paralysis in the lower part of his left leg, endured painful medical procedures and spent his youth in a leg brace and special footwear. His first lesson in walking was how to move while wearing such equipment. His story combines medical history with a very personal case study. It documents coping with one’s pain, guilt and shame, and the anger that arises from being bullied. But it is also a story of healing and rehabilitation, and of hard lessons hard-earned–about the courage to keep going and, if one way isn’t working, the awareness and bravery to try something new.


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