Canadian Literature Centre hosts Margaret Atwood for 10th annual Kreisel Lecture on April 7th

Tickets for Atwood’s lecture on the Canadian writing landscape of the '60s available now.


On April 7, Canadian novelist and journalist Margaret Atwood will take us back to the birth of CanLit for the Canadian Literature Centre’s 10th annual Kreisel Lecture.

Every year, the popular Kreisel Lecture, named in honour of former University of Alberta professor and acclaimed author Henry Kreisel, brings high-profile Canadian writers like Atwood to the U of A campus.

As the annual lecture marks its 10th anniversary, Canadian Literature Centre director Marie Carrière says it’s a must-attend for anyone involved in or interested in Canadian literature.

“It’s a celebration of 10 years of really successful lectures by as many incredibly talented Canadian writers,” says Carrière. “Once again, we’re creating a public space for intellectual exchange and encouraging reflection—this time on an important social and cultural era for CanLit.”

Carrière says allowing the guest speaker to choose their subject has been a vital aspect of the lecture’s popularity.

“Inviting a well-known Canadian writer to address any topic they are passionate about creates an opportunity not just for professors and students, but also for the public in general to engage with the author and with each other,” she says.

Some of the past lecturers include Lynn Coady, who spoke in 2015 about the future of physical books, and Lawrence Hill, who talked about censorship after receiving a letter from a reader who planned to burn his copy of The Book of Negroes. Coady’s published Kreisel Series lecture “Who Needs Books?” will be available at the book sale after the event.

As for this year’s milestone lecture, titled “The Burgess Shale: The Canadian Writing Landscape of the 1960s,” Carrière says she expects Atwood to tackle the topic of books and culture in what she calls a transformative time for Canadian literature.

“It was an impactful time—Canadian writers started to identify as Canadian writers. It was a new time for Canadian literature; publishers and magazines were emerging, and things began to blossom after that,” says Carrière, who regularly teaches Atwood’s work to her students. “It was a very important generation for creating an institution for Canadian literature, and Margaret Atwood was very much a part of it.”

As a poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist and environmental activist, Atwood has long been touted as one of the founding mothers of CanLit. That’s why Carrière believes this particular Kreisel Lecture will resonate with so many.

“Margaret Atwood has become one of the most important writers of her time; she’s also an important cultural commentator and she’s often very funny,” she explains. “People will learn about the history of Canadian culture from someone who has actually lived it—that’s pretty special.”

The 10th annual Kreisel Lecture takes place Thursday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Winspear Centre (4 Sir Winston Churchill Square). Tickets are $36 or $20 for students, and can be purchased online at the Kreisel Lecture event page.

The lecture will be recorded by CBC Radio One and used in an episode of the national CBC Ideas program, and as always.

A brief Q-and-A with Atwood and a book signing will follow the lecture. Audrey’s Books will have Atwood’s work, along with the Kreisel Series, for purchase in the lobby.

For more information on the Canadian Literature Centre and the Kreisel Series, visit abclc.ca.