Beyond the printed word

Beyond the printed word

Annual lecture series welcomes award-winning author John Steffler for talk about writing, wilderness, and “the page.”

By Wanda Praamsma, Senior Communications Officer

October 21, 2016


An annual English Department lecture series celebrating the act of writing and the writing life will bring award-winning poet and novelist John Steffler to campus next week to talk about wilderness and “the page.”

The Page Lectures series, launched in 2012, has a dual focus: to bring leading Canadian writers to speak at Queen’s, and to honour the late Kingston writer and artist Joanne Page, who contributed immensely to the local literary and artistic communities.

This year, The Page Lectures welcomes John Steffler, who plans to talk about wilderness and "the page" at the event Oct. 25.  

“This series is a tremendous opportunity for the Queen’s community and for anyone with love and passion for the written word to learn from some of the most exciting and innovative writers the Canadian literary scene has to offer,” says Sam McKegney, Acting Head and Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature. “For our students to be able to engage with an eminent writer such as former poet laureate of Canada, John Steffler – what a luxury!

“The Department of English is honoured to be hosting this event, alongside The Page Lectures Fund, to celebrate the memory of Joanne Page, who was such an incredible ambassador of the written word.”

Started by former Queen’s writer in residence and celebrated poet Phil Hall, the series has already attracted a diverse group of writers to give lectures – including Erín Moure, Stan Dragland, and Elizabeth Hay. This year’s speaker, John Steffler, was Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2006 to 2008, and has published several books of poetry, including The Grey Islands, That Night We Were Ravenous, and Lookout, as well as two novels and a children’s book.

“John Steffler holds dual citizenship in Newfoundland and Ontario. His poetic journal of living on The Grey Islands is a classic,” says Mr. Hall. “John knows about language & he knows about the barren out-reaches of this country. We are so honoured to have him talk with us about both.”

After Ms. Page’s death in 2015, the Department of English pledged $25,000 from its Alumni Fund to act as seed-money for a new fund that would endow The Page Lectures in perpetuity. The fund recognizes both Ms. Page’s contribution to Canadian writing and the importance of the newly inaugurated lecture series to creative writing within the department and the wider community. Stephen Page, Joanne’s husband, matched this gift, and with further support from other family members and friends, the Joanne Page Lecture Fund was established in September 2015.

This year’s talk by Mr. Steffler will take place Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2:30-4 pm, Watson Hall, Rm. 517, Queen’s University. This is a free event and all are welcome. More information available on Facebook.