Home

Language, identity, place, home: these are all of a piece—just different elements of belonging and not-belonging.” Jhumpa Lahiri  

At the core of all my work is the exploration of home: how to find, define or create it. I’m fascinated by this issue likely because I was born in a country where I could never secure citizenship, raised in another country, but always felt at home in the country of my original culture, a place I’ve only visited for brief periods of time throughout my life and miss every day.  

Given these circumstances it is difficult to find a place where you belong. This topic will be explored at our spring reading event, entitled, Travel, Place, Identity: Unpacking the Idea of Home scheduled for May 17th at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center in Whistler. The event features four authors, including Pat Ardley, Amy Fung, Becky Livingston Geoff Powter, and will explore how our identity and our understanding of home is influenced by where we live, or where we travel.

Whistler-based writer, editor and biologist Leslie Anthony will moderate the event. Short readings will be followed by conversations about the questions of “What will we find out about ourselves when we examine our sense of place under the microscope?” And, “What does home mean, and do we change if it changes?”

Pat Ardley was born in the Canadian prairies; a yellow Toyota, the voice of Cat Stevens and a best friend brought her to BC.  After a life of adventure on the west coast with the love of her life, building the world class Rivers Lodge in Rivers Inlet, she is now settled in West Vancouver where she tends to a beautiful garden, sings in a bluegrass choir and enjoys many cups of tea and glasses of champagne with friends. Pat can be seen walking the seashore with her beloved dog Lindsay by her side and taking in many a music concert. Her memoir Grizzlies, Gales and Giant Salmon: Life at a Rivers Inlet Fishing Lodge is a touching tribute to coastal life. 

Amy Fung is a writer, researcher and curator born in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and spent her formative years in and around Edmonton on Treaty 6 Territory. Her writing has been published and commissioned by national and international publications, galleries, museums, festivals, and journals since 2007. Her multifarious curatorial projects have spanned exhibitions, cinematic and live presentations, as well as discursive events across Canada and abroad. Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being is her first book.

Becky Livingston grew up in England. After graduate work in the US, she moved to Vancouver, BC, and worked as an elementary school teacher for over 20 years. In 2015, she completed the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive. Her work appears in the anthology Always With Me. She currently lives in Nelson, BC. The Suitcase and the Jar: Travels with a Daughter’s Ashes is her first book.

Geoff Powter is a long time climber and adventurer with 13 Himalayan expeditions and dozens of Canadian first ascents on his resume. He is the winner of 14 National Magazine Awards including both the Gold and Silver awards in the same year in the Sports Journalism category. Powter was the Founding Editor of Polar Circus, and Editor of The Canadian Alpine Journal for 13 years. He is the author of two books — Canadian Summits and Strange and Dangerous Dreams: The Fine Line Between Adventure and Madness. His latest book is Inner Ranges: An Anthology of Mountain Thoughts and Mountain People.

Anyone who has traveled or lived in lands that were not their place of origin, as I have, will have thought about what home means, and how much we identify with our sense of place. Our guest authors are all asking questions about how we identify with place in different ways, whether it’s through great loss, living a life of adventure on the west coast, risk-taking in the mountains, or an examination of Canada’s mythologies of multiculturalism and settler colonialism.

I hope you’ll be able to join us on May 17th. Tickets on sale: whistlerwritersfest.com

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