2014 Harvey Southam Lecturer

Just in time for the Sochi Winter Olympics, noted sports writer and veteran journalist Tom Hawthorn will be focusing on sports writing in his role as the University of Victoria’s 2014 Harvey Stevenson Southam Lecturer in Journalism and Nonfiction, with UVic’s Department of Writing. He will also be delivering a free public lecture at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, in room A240 of UVic’s Human and Social Development building.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected as the Southam Lecturer for 2014,” says Hawthorn. “I spent seven years working for a Southam newspaper and proudly joined Team Southam in covering the 1996 Olympic Games.” In addition to having worked in the sports departments of the Globe and Mail, Province and Times Colonist newspapers, Hawthorn is a well-respected journalist and magazine writer whose byline has appeared in magazines across the country. He is also the author of the recent book, Deadlines: Obits of Memorable British Columbians.

But sports is where his true passion lies, and Hawthorn’s course will look at issues like the branding and marketing of athletes, the struggle by women reporters to gain access to locker rooms, how athletes are portrayed in the age of Twitter, and the history of the Olympic movement. This month’s public lecture will also explore Olympics protests—from the move to boycott the Nazi Olympics and the Black Power salutes of 1968, to the African boycott of the Montreal Olympics and the contemporary protests over Russia's anti-gay laws.

Hawthorn is also keen to see sports more fully integrated into culture as a whole. “It’s an area that isn’t fully explored,” he says. “People who aren’t into sports just toss that section of the paper aside. But it’s important to see sports writing express the wider culture, which is often unexamined—questions of gender and race and politics come into play. We even demand our athletes to be role models, as though athleticism is itself imbued with some noble purpose.”

Hawthorn is the seventh person to hold the prestigious Southam lectureship, following Jo-Ann Roberts (CBC’s All Points West), Charles Campbell (Georgia Straight), Sandra Martin (Globe and Mail), Jody Paterson (Times Colonist) and authors Richard Wagamese and Terry Glavin.

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

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Media contacts

John Threlfall (Fine Arts/Communications) at 250-721-6222 or johnt@uvic.ca

Tom Hawthorn (Writing/Southam Lecturer) at 250-857-5029 or or tomhawthorn@gmail.com

David Leach (Writing/Professor) at 250-721-7627 or dleach@uvic.ca

In this story

Keywords: writing, sports, athletics, Olympics

People: Tom Hawthorn, Harvey Southam

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