North Island College launches Write Here Readers Series with Andrea Warner

North Island College’s Write Here Readers Series launches Thursday, Oct. 11 with leading pop-culture critic and music journalist Andrea Warner at the Comox Valley campus.

“This year’s Write Here Readers Series features authors from a variety of backgrounds discussing a wide range of subjects,” said organizer and NIC English instructor Nick van Orden. “We’re thrilled to begin the series with Andrea’s newly released book on Canadian icon Buffy Sainte-Marie and local author Grant Shilling.”

Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography (Greystone Books), the only authorized biography of Sainte-Marie, offers an inspiring and intimate portrait of Sainte-Marie as an unparalleled artist, philanthropist and Indigenous activist.

Warner had interviewed Sainte-Marie through her work as a music journalist with CBC and found a connection with her.

“She’s an extraordinary person and artist, but a lot of her work and a lot about her is unknown,” said Warner, who approached Sainte-Marie’s management about doing a biography after interviewing her. “I didn’t want to write her story. I wanted to create this space where she could tell her story and I could provide a music critic analysis to the rest of the world that was going on around her. And that’s how the relationship and this biography developed.”

Warner says she hopes the book encourages people to connect or reconnect with Sainte-Marie’s music, in which Warner says, Sainte-Marie has mapped her life.

“Her activism, her environmental justice, her love of people, her desires, her creativity, her activism for Indigenous rights and advocacy there – it’s all in her music and I think that’s why her work is so timeless and true,” said Warner. “She’s still this incredibly fiery, creative, unstoppable human being and I really feel like this will be a chance for people to truly start to get to know the bigger picture of who she is.”

Warner will be joined by local writer, artist, surfer and outreach worker Grant Shilling. Shilling is the author of The Cedar Surf: An Informal History of Surfing in BC, Surfing with the Devil and is currently at work on A Full 360: A Story of Survival and a Skatepark. He is the founder of Get on Board, which uses skate, surf and snowboarding to work with youth at risk.

The Write Here Readers Series continues Nov. 2 with Vancouver crime novel author Sam Wiebe and Nov. 21 with young adult author Gabrielle Prendergast.

NIC offers English courses with focuses on contemporary Indigenous issues and Indigenous literatures in Canada. English 116 – Essay Writing and Indigenous Perspective and English 127 – Indigenous Literatures in Canada are both offered, starting in January.

For more information on this event or the Write Here Readers Series, contact Nick van Orden at nicholas.vanorden@nic.bc.ca.

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