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

Truth in Fiction

with Karen Lee White and Richard Van Camp
Hosted by Kateri Akiwenzi-Damm

Truth in Fiction

with Karen Lee White and Richard Van Camp
Hosted by Kateri Akiwenzi-Damm
Christ Church Cathedral
414 Sparks St.
Karen Lee White
Richard Van Camp - Photo by William Au

Join us for a conversation on how fiction tells the truth and the interconnections between past and present with author and musician, Karen Lee White, a Northern Salish, Tuscarora, Chippewa and Scots writer from Vancouver Island and Alberta’s Richard Van Camp, a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Dene Nation, and the bestselling author of The Lesser Blessed.


In The Silence , with the Yukon as a canvas, Karen Lee White employs dreams, spirits, songs, and journals as foundations for dialogue between cultures. In the novel, Leah Redsky is a Salteaux/Salish woman living in Vancouver who struggles with identity and the difficult intercultural dynamics of having a non-Indigenous boyfriend and working for the government. Often conflicted, at odds with her past and current life, things unravel and she suffers a breakdown—the unexpected life twist that is the key to coming to terms with her past. Through a diary, she discovers that something terrible happened, yet it is unclear what that is until she begins to have dream encounters with the Tlingit/Tagish spirits that she knew in the North when she lived a traditional life on the land. Leah must find the strength to accept and integrate past and present so she can move into the future. She will find her power as an Indigenous woman, heal her spiritual and psychological wounds through the resolution of previous traumas, and reconcile her ability to communicate with those in the next world as she comes to understand that she has been chosen to be a Medicine Woman/Elder/Cultural Leader.


The characters of Richard Van Camp’s Moccasin Square Garden s inhabit Denendeh, the land of the people north of the sixtieth parallel. These stories are filled with in-laws, outlaws and common-laws. These stories show that medicine power always comes with a price. “Moccasin Square Gardens” is the nickname of a dance hall in the town of Fort Smith that serves as a meeting place for a small but diverse community. In the same way, the collection functions as a meeting place for an assortment of characters, from shamans and time-travelling goddess warriors to pop-culture-obsessed pencil pushers, to con artists, archivists and men who just need to grow up, all seeking some form of connection.


Books available for purchase at every event: Proceeds support our free children’s literacy programs. 

See Also

Included in Optional Monday May 06 Evening Pass: Three events

5:30pm • Christ Church Cathedral • 414 Sparks St.
7:00pm • Christ Church Cathedral • 414 Sparks St.
8:30pm • Christ Church Cathedral • 414 Sparks St.
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