Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Pay what you can for this event

Thank you for your interest in our programming! If you are able to make a donation it would be greatly appreciated. Tax receipts will be provided for donations of $20 or more. We hope you enjoy this event!
Other Amount:

Podcast Episode 06

Nuclear Family

with Jean van Loon
Hosted by David O’Meara

Nuclear Family

with Jean van Loon
Hosted by David O’Meara
Jean Van Loon

In the night her whitened toes / cold sole on his calf / between his palms he warms / a slender foot – / twig bones, taut skin.


Poet and playwright David O’Meara sits down with City of Ottawa Book Award finalist Jean Van Loon to discuss her latest collection, Nuclear Family .


Jean Van Loon’s father was a metallurgist in an Ottawa lab that contributed to the Manhattan Project. The Geiger counter he brought home exposed her mother’s dinner plate as radioactive. Her childhood friend’s father sold cobalt bombs to the Soviet Union. Unbeknownst even to the family, her mother worked for Canada’s Cold War intelligence service.


Rooted in memory and history, Nuclear Family carries the reader into the sense of impending nuclear doom and the explosions of material wealth that shaped Van Loon’s childhood. Poems come alive with image, sound, and texture, portraying the innocence of childhood games, the worldwide effects of prolonged nuclear testing, and the long-lasting legacy of her father’s suicide – a fallout of radioactive silences.


Books are available from our friends at Perfect Books.


The Ottawa International Writers Festival is supported by generous individuals like you. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter and making a donation to support our programming and children’s literacy initiatives.

Join Wait List

Nuclear Family

Notify me if new tickets come available for this event

Number of tickets:

Nuclear Family

Please RSVP to help us gauge interest in our programming and be reminded when this event premiers