September 10, 2020: Doreen Vanderstoop at Word on the Street (online)

Thursday, September 10, 2020
9:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. MT / 6 p.m. PT
Free online event, register here

What does the future hold for the natural world and our built environment? How can our hopes for a better world lead us astray? Moderator Hal Wake will explore these questions and more with acclaimed authors Michael Christie (Greenwood), Kerri Sakamoto (Floating City), and Doreen Vanderstoop (Watershed).

About the Presenters

Michael Christie is the author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Kirkus Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was selected as a New York Times Editors Choice Pick, and a linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. His writing has appeared in the New York TimesWashington Post, and The Globe & Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, he divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, where he lives with his family in a timber frame house that he built himself.’

Greenwood – They come for the trees. It’s 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich-eco-tourists in one of the world’s last remaining forests. It’s 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall and facing the possibility of his own death. It’s 1974 and Willow Greenwood is just out of jail for one of her environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father’s once vast and rapacious timber empire. It’s 1934 and Everett Greenwood is a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant, only to find himself tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie’s effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival.

Kerri Sakamoto is the Toronto-born author of three novels, a trilogy which explores the experience of Japanese in Canada. Her first book, The Electrical Field received various nominations and awards. Her most recent novel, Floating City received the Japan-Canada Prize and was nominated for the Toronto Book Award.

Floating City – Frankie Hanesaka isn’t afraid of a little hard work. An industrious boy, if haunted by the mysterious figures of his mother’s past in Japan, he grows up in a floating house in the harbour of Port Alberni, BC. With all the Japanese bachelors passing through town to work in the logging camps and lumber mills, maybe he could build a hotel on the water, too. Make a few dollars. But then the war comes, and Frankie finds himself in a mountai n internment camp, his small dreams of success dashed by the great tides of history. After the war, Frankie tries his luck in Toronto, where possibility awaits in the form of a patron who teaches him how to turn effort into money, and a starry-eyed architect who teaches Frankie something harder to come by: the ability to dream big. Buckminster Fuller’s role as Frankie’s outsized spiritual mentor is one of just many real-life touchstones and extraordinary points of colour in this fairytale-like story about family, ambition and the costs of turning our backs on history and home.

Doreen Vanderstoop is a Calgary-based writer, storyteller and musician. Doreen performs for audiences of all ages, interspersing songs among tales of all genres, including her own original stories. She leads workshops to ignite in others a passion for the power of story — oral and written. Watershed is her debut novel.

Watershed – It is 2058, and the glaciers are gone. A catastrophic drought has hit the prairies. Willa is trying to keep her family goat farm afloat, hoping desperately that the new water pipeline arrives soon. Willa’s son, Daniel, works for the pipeline corporation instead of returning to help the farm. When Daniel reveals long-concealed secrets about his grandpa’s death, Willa’s world shatters. She’s losing everything she values: her farm, her son, her understanding of the past — even her grip on reality itself. Vividly illustrating the human cost of climate change, Watershed is a page-turner of a novel about forgiveness, adaptation and family bonds.

Hal Wake has been engaged with the literary community in Canada for more than 30 years. He has conducted on-stage interviews with Alice Munro, Jonathan Safran Foer, Richard Ford, Sharon Olds, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Chabon, Joseph Boyden, and Anne Michaels amongst many others. In the mid ’80’s he was the book producer for the most influential public radio program in Canada, Morningside with Peter Gzowski. He has hosted or moderated hundreds of literary events at Festivals in Vancouver, Victoria, Sechelt, Kingston, New York, London (UK), Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney Australia. He is an Honorary Member of the Writers Union of Canada and he recently completed 12 years as the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Writers Fest.

From September 10-27, Words Across Canada presents Canadian and Indigenous authors from across the country. This Words Across Canada event is presented by The Word On The Street Toronto in partnership with WOTS Saskatoon and Word Vancouver.

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