New UVic Lecturer Focuses On First Nations Storytelling

Journalist, novelist and broadcaster Richard Wagamese— the University of Victoria’s new Harvey Stevenson Southam Lecturer in Journalism and Nonfiction—will share his award-winning storytelling techniques with UVic students next term.

His class, “Changing Perspectives: Discovering Your Story’s Voice,” is a lecture and discussion course exploring how the observational skills and traditional spiritual principles of First Nations’ storytelling can help all writers to improve their craft.

“Relying solely on memory and improvisation, oral storytellers created an enduring legacy of tales still told in the same manner today as when they were created generations ago,” explains Wagamese. “Our class discussion will focus on the principles of traditional storytelling and combine them with contemporary narrative skills to learn to ‘free the mind’ and allow a spontaneous generation of ideas and expression to occur.” Wagamese’s course will follow First Nations pedagogy by using the land as the setting for discussion and oral exercises to encourage students to discover their authentic voices.

Wagamese is an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Now based in Kamloops, BC, he is the first native Canadian to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing (in 1994). A prolific and acclaimed author and broadcaster, he has worked as a producer, scriptwriter and host in radio, film and TV; a columnist and reporter for the Calgary Herald and other periodicals; and has published four novels and two memoirs. His latest nonfiction book, One Story, One Song, will be released by Douglas & McIntyre in February, 2011.

The annual Harvey Stevenson Southam lectureship is made possible by a $250,000 gift from one of the country’s leading publishing families. Harvey Southam, a UVic alumnus and journalist, was an heir to his family’s publishing empire when he died suddenly in 1991. The gift was made by his mother, Jean Southam.

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Media contacts

Richard Wagamese (Writing) at 250-573-4518 or or

David Leach (Writing) at 250-721-7310 or

Maria Lironi (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139 or

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Keywords: new, uvic, lecturer, focuses, nations, storytelling

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