London Words speaks with Western voice

From the science of creativity to the murderous history of a city, Western has a way with words during London’s annual celebration this weekend of the written and spoken art.

London Words Festival takes place Nov. 1-3 at Museum London. It highlights the best of the region’s creativity and literary excellence and features storytellers in prose, poetry, song, new media, playwriting, screenwriting and graphic novels.

Western connections include:

Saturday, Nov. 2

  • Nino Ricci, Western’s the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity, will host a live episode of his podcast, ‘Who do you think you are?’, in a session that features Western professors Anabel Quan Haase, Jeremy Copeland, Jacob Shelley, Sarah Gallagher, and Jonathan DeSouza;
  • The James Reaney Memorial Lecture features English professor emeritus Stan Dragland, celebrating the legacy of Canadian poet/playwright James Crerar ‘Jamie’ Reaney. Draglund is founder of Brick magazine and Brick Books;
  • James Bartleman, BA’63, LLB’02, Ontario’s former Lieutenant Governor and a member of Chippewas of Rama First Nation, in conversation with award-winning Ojibway writer/playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, a former Western’s Writer-In-Residence (2007-08);
  • English professor Joshua Schuster will mark the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth. Legacies of Walt Whitman’s Summer in London will explore the poet’s visit to London in 1880, the only time Whitman left the United States during his life; and
  • English and Writing Studies professor Tom Cull who is also an English lecturer at King’s University College, is host to an open-mic night of poetry. Cull is London’s former poet laureate.

Sunday, Nov. 3

  • A panel on Murder in the Forest City, features local author Vanessa Brown and Western faculty member Michael Arntfield, who teaches courses on criminology and specializes in cold cases. London Free Press reporter Jane Sims, BA’86, hosts of the event; and
  • A panel about revisiting London regionalism features Western art historian and professor emeritus Madeline Lennon; artist Jamelie Hassan, who is teaching at the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities; and art historian Judith Rodger, former director of Western’s McIntosh Gallery. The host will be Ruth Skinner, who recently curated a show about independent publishing at the McIntosh Gallery.

Two other highlights during the weekend are expected to include celebrated cartoonist and graphic novelist Seth (born Gregory Gallant), who will talk about his new graphic novel, and Vidya Natarajan, a novelist and Indian classical dancer who is co-ordinator of the King’s University College writing program and a King’s lecturer.