Much-honored B.C. author Kristjana Gunnars and Selkirk College creative writing instructor Leesa Dean will read from their works on Wed., Oct. 23 to inaugurate the 2019-2020 author reading series at Nelson, B.C.’s Oxygen Art Centre.
The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. Oxygen, at 320 Vernon St. (alley entrance), the city’s only artist-run centre. Admission to the reading is free ($5 donation appreciated) and the event is open to the public.
Icelandic-born Gunnars is a writer and painter from White Rock, B.C., whose books have twice been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Her novel, The Prowler (1989), was nominated in the fiction category, and a memoir about her father’s death, Zero Hour (1991), in the nonfiction category. She has also published collections of short fiction, cross-genre prose, translations, and essays. Her most recent publication is a book of poems, At Home in the Mountains, from Toronto’s Junction Press earlier this year.
Gunnars also maintains an art practice, showing her work in Vancouver area galleries.
Slocan Valley-based Leesa Dean’s collection of short fiction, Waiting for the Cyclone (2016), was nominated for the 2017 Trillium and ReLit Awards. She has also published poetry, non-fiction and interviews.
The evening of Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Gunnars will present a workshop at Oxygen entitled “The Four Parts of Writing: Why They Matter Equally.” Her workshop will explore how creating with words involves inspiration, interactions with self and community, the physical act of writing, and the world of editing and publishing.
“Many writers,” Gunnars said, “make the mistake of neglecting one or more of these areas. As we explore these, I want to do so interactively and have everyone in the workshop contribute to the formation of as comprehensive a view of writing as possible.”
Cost of the workshop is $10.
The October reading and workshop is the first of four author presentations at Oxygen during fall 2019 and spring 2020. “We call the series ‘Home and Away,’” said Oxygen Art Centre Executive Director Julia Prudhomme.
“Three of the four events pair a local author with a B.C. writer from elsewhere.” Prudhomme said. “Oxygen has a long tradition of promoting home-grown artistic talent while simultaneously bringing to the West Kootenay artists who can inspire local practitioners of the art form while broadening our local audiences’ knowledge of and appreciation for the arts.”
The second event of Oxygen’s 2019-2020 reading series will feature two Nelson writers on Nov. 13, launching a new novel and reading by Ernest Hekkanen, and a reading by novelist and poetry slam host Josh Massey. The series is supported in part by the B.C. Arts Council and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, and co-sponsored by Nelson’s Elephant Mountain Literary Festival.