Author Anne Michaels Presents UVic 50th Anniversary President's Distinguished Lecture

Acclaimed Canadian author, poet and composer Anne Michaels will present “The Mystery of Wood,” the second in a series of President’s Distinguished Lectures featuring world-renowned thinkers, on Feb. 18, 2013.

The lectures, celebrating the University of Victoria’s 50th anniversary, are combined with special convocation ceremonies in which each scholar will receive an honorary degree. Author and historian George Dyson presented the first lecture in the series on Dec. 4, 2012. Eco-feminist and scholar Dr. Vandana Shiva will speak at UVic on March 27, 2013.

Michaels is a powerful and provocative storyteller. Her award-winning works offer a complex and sustained meditation on the nature of love and evil. A recurring theme is the examination of faith and failure from a writer’s point of view.

Michaels is best known for her first novel Fugitive Pieces (1996), which won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was made into a motion picture (2007). Her first volume of poetry, The Weight of Oranges (1986), was awarded the Commonwealth Prize. Her second collection Miner’s Pond (1991) was nominated for a Governor General’s Award and received the National Magazine Award. Her most recent novel is The Winter Vault (2009). Michaels has also composed musical scores for the theatre.

In this President’s Distinguished Lecture, Michaels frames her talk with a quote from Fugitive Pieces: “The mystery of wood is not that it burns, but that it floats.” Her lecture will focus on the responsibilities of fiction when it is deeply engaged with historical events. She will receive the degree of Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts prior to her lecture.

The President’s Distinguished Lecture begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18 in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Contact the UVic Ticket Centre at or 250-721-8480. Everyone is welcome.

The film adaptation of Fugitive Pieces will be screened at UVic’s Cinecenta on Thursday, Feb. 14. Visit for details.

More information:

Note: Anne Michaels is available for interviews by contacting Melanie Groves in UVic Communications at 250-472-4357.

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Media contacts

Melanie Groves (UVic Communications) at 250-472-4357 or

Joy Davis (Ceremonies and Events) at or 250-721-7632

In this story

Keywords: President’s Distinguished Lecture

People: Anne Michaels, George Dyson, Vandana Shiva

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