Kennedy featured speaker at Sierra Club

Sierra Club Comox Valley will feature Des Kennedy as a speaker this Friday evening.

Sierra Club Comox Valley will feature Des Kennedy as a speaker this Friday evening.

The presentation will be at the Comox United Church at 250 Beach St. in Comox at 7 p.m.

Excerpting from his recent best-selling memoirs and from several of his novels, Kennedy will illustrate the story of his own offbeat life, as well as those of several memorable characters he’s created.

Ranging from the sacred to the profane, from the ridiculous to the sublime, these are stories in which reverence and hilarity walk hand in hand through a world that is both doomed and redeemed. There’ll be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

Comox Valley residents are well aware that Kennedy is an accomplished novelist and satirist, as well as a celebrated gardening writer and speaker. The author of eight books in both fiction and non-fiction, he has been three times nominated for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

His most recent book is a memoir titled The Way of a Gardener: A Life’s Journey.

Spiced with irreverence and an eye for the absurd, it describes his personal pilgrimage from a childhood of strict Irish Catholicism in Britain, through eight years of training in a monastic seminary, then the social upheavals of the 1960s, to a new life of symbiosis with the earth that is as profoundly spiritual as past religious rituals.

His memoirs range over environmental activism, aboriginal rights, writing for a living, amateur wood butchery, the protocols of small community living and the devilish obscenity of a billy goat at stud.

Over the years, Kennedy has contributed countless articles on environmental issues, gardening and rural living to a wide variety of publications in Canada and the United States, including seven years as gardening columnist for the Globe and Mail. He has been listed as one of the most influential personalities in the Canadian gardening scene and has appeared on a variety of regional and national television and radio programs.

He’s a celebrated speaker, having performed at numerous conferences, schools, festivals, botanical gardens, art galleries, garden shows and wilderness gatherings in Canada and the U.S. He has hosted tours of the gardens of Ireland, New Zealand, China and England.

As well, Kennedy has been active for many years in environmental and social justice issues, including co-organizing the civil disobedience campaign in Strathcona Provincial Park in 1988 and getting arrested at Clayoquot Sound in 1993.

He worked for several years in the ’70s and early ’80s as a land claim consultant for two Indian bands in North Central B.C. and was a founding director of a community land trust on Denman Island.

The presentation is a benefit for Sierra Club Comox Valley. Admission is by donation (suggested donation $10).  Kennedy’s books will also be available for purchase.

— Sierra Club Comox Valley