|At the Arden Theatre in St. Albert, October 23/14|
|The book he was meant to write all his life: |
What a blast!!! Last evening, October 23, a friend and I attended the sold out STARFest 2014 event featuring award-winning author Joseph Boyden. My many thanks to Laura Frey a book blogger (Reading in Bed) from whom I won the tickets. Boyden has been on tour since August of 2013 promoting The Orenda, the book he said he was meant to write all his life. Let me tell you you missed out!! He is humorous, intelligent, passionate about human rights, and has these cute little dimples when he smiles.
|Joseph Boyden signing books at the end of the evening|
Joseph Boyden was born October 31, 1966 a descendant of Irish, Scottish and Anishinaabe background. It is his First Nations lineage that influences his writing. Boyden recently was involved with an animated film project in which he did the voiceover for a character. He also wrote the story Going Home Star for the Winnipeg Ballet (http://www.rwb.org/whats-on/show/a-story-of-truth-and-reconciliation). Boyden is passionate about advocating for First Nations, missing Aboriginal women, women's rights and the environment. He writes of these, believing this country needs to have an open dialogue on these issues - a civilized one. He is also an advocate for mental health, having suffered from depression himself as a teen.
"Walk 'til morning. Walk through the night until you see daylight."
Boyden considers his calling to be to address depression and the high suicide rate on the reserves among the youth and in society. He hopes and wishes to to help. If he can "touch just one" then he is making a difference.
In addition to his novels, one short-story collection, and the Winnipeg Ballet story (http://vimeo.com/107958447); Boyden has written a couple non-fiction books including one about Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont. He desires to make history exciting for readers.
He is one very busy man!! He teaches at the university in New Orleans, as does his wife Amanda (also a novelist), is on the road promoting The Orenda, is currently writing a companion novel to The Orenda and a new novel titled Seven Matches, a book about residential schools and a young boy who seems to be running away with seven matches to light a fire to warm him by night. Boyden's brief introduction was compelling!
As you can tell, Joseph Boyden is a huge historian, drawing from his heritage, primarily the Native American heritage on his mother's side; to tell the tales of history. As he says, If we don't know where we come from, how do we know where we're going?
**In the works, The Orenda is currently being made into a television mini-series for CBC.
|Boyden reading from The Orenda|
Joseph Boyden's biography as supplied by his publisher: Joseph Boyden's first novel, Three Day Road, was selected for the Today Show Book Club, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award. His most recent novel, The Orenda, won Canada Reads and was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Boyden divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana. (http://www.hamishhamilton.ca/authors/joseph-boyden.html)
Boyden's novels include Three Day Road (2005 Penguin Canada) - winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, Through Black Spruce (2008 Penguin Canada) - won the Scotiabank Giller Prize November 2008, The Orenda (2013 Hamish Hamilton, a division of Penguin Random House Canada) - long listed for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize and winner of the 2014 Canada Reads. He published a short story collection titled Born With a Tooth in 2001 (Cormorant Books). His non-fiction works include two titles: From Mushkegowuk to New Orleans: A Mixed Blood Highway (Edmonton: NeWest 2008) and Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont (Penguin 2010).
|Local author Diana Davidson|
Diana Davidson is an Edmonton author whose debut novel The Pilgrimage was published September 2013. Following a brief introduction, Diana interviewed Joseph Boyden for this STARFest event.http://www.dianadavidson.or
“If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water” (Hemingway's quote which inspires Joseph Boyden's writing style)
|A sold out audience was in attendance for this STARFest Event with Joseph Boyden.|
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada named Boyden a TRC Honorary Witness at the TRC Alberta National Event in March 2014.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is mandated to:
- Tell Canadians what happened in the Indian Residential Schools;
- Create a permanent record of what happened in the Indian Residential Schools;
- Foster healing and reconciliation within Canada