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WGA Presents: The Writing Life—Aritha van Herk in Conversation with Denise Chong (Calgary)

Tuesday, April 3 7:00—9:00, Shelf Life Books @ 1302 4 St SW, Calgary.
WGA members Free | Public $5 donation to the WGA 
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We invite you to join us for this special opportunity to hear from two of Canada’s most fascinating and powerful authors. Denise Chong is this year’s Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary, and is best known for The Concubine’s Children. Three other works of literary non-fiction followed: The Girl in the PictureEgg on Mao, and Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate & Circumstance. Denise was named to the Order of Canada for “writing books that raise our social consciousness.” Aritha van Herk has persistently explored feminist and place issues in her novels, non-fiction, and essays. Women’s work, geography, melancholia, and picaresque retributions are at the heart of her writing and critical thought. This is sure to be a memorable and poignant discussion; we’ll be bringing in some extra chairs!

Denise Chong, this year’s Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary, is best known for The Concubine’s Children. Called “beautiful, haunting and wise” by the New York Times Book review, her family memoir was a Globe and Mail bestseller for 93 weeks. Three other works of literary non-fiction followed: The Girl in the Picture, as much about the famous casualty of the war as a social history of life in a war-torn country; Egg on Mao, which pivots on an act of defiance during the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests in China; and Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate & Circumstance, where immigrant lives hinge on both the momentous and the mundane. In 2013, Denise was named to the Order of Canada for “writing books that raise our social consciousness.”

Aritha van Herk has persistently explored feminist and place issues in her novels, non-fiction, and essays. Women’s work, geography, melancholia, and picaresque retributions are at the heart of her writing and critical thought.  She is the author of five novels and seven works of creative non-fiction and criticism, most recently the prose/poetry work, Stampede and the Westness of West. Her work in contemporary fiction includes hundreds of reviews and evaluations of contemporary novels.  Active in the literary and cultural life of Alberta, she has also taught innumerable Creative Writing students who have gone on to publish their work.  She is an avid reader and follower of contemporary culture and she is currently working on a place-biography of Robert Kroetsch. Aritha van Herk photo credit: Ewan Nicholson

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