Rudy Wiebe, one of Canada’s most distinguished novelists, will read in Sechelt this Saturday, April 26.
Wiebe comes from pioneers, the last of the homesteaders in northern Saskatchewan, and his writing has pioneered major aspects of western fiction. He was one of the writers who emerged in the 1960s and, with Margaret Laurence and Robert Kroetsch, brought prairie fiction to the centre of Canadian Literature.
He first rose to prominence with his vivid and empathetic portrayals of First Nations people in The Temptations of Big Bear, which won the Governor General’s Award for 1973, and in Scorched-Wood People, when Westerners were just awakening to their Native heritage.
He continued with A Discovery of Strangers, set during the first Franklin expedition among the Yellowknife people. Again, he won the Governor General’s, and at a time when the North was not yet the stuff of serious fiction, and historical fiction itself — so popular today — was often regarded as a questionable sub-genre.
When Wiebe brought his Mennonite people into fiction in Peace Shall Destroy Many in 1962, his work was controversial. The conservative element of his church was deeply suspicious of fiction, and Wiebe was breaking trail for a generation of younger Mennonite writers.
Now he is coming to us with a new novel to be published in September and appropriately titled Come Back.
His reading starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt.
Admission is by donation, courtesy the Canada Council.
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