Thursday, May 3, 2007

Mary Donaldson Memorial Lecture -- tonight!

I'm in Saskatoon right now to present the Saskatchewan Library Association's Mary Donaldson Memorial Lecture; that's Mary Donaldson above. If you're in town, come on out! It's tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Frances Morrison Library; it's free!

My topic is:

Many people dismiss science fiction as escapism -- but they're wrong. From its roots with H.G. Wells to the political allegory of the new Battlestar Galactica, science fiction has always been a powerful vehicle for commenting on the here-and-now. Join Hugo and Nebula-Award winner Robert J. Sawyer for a discussion of how science fiction lets us explore the burning issues of today ... in the guise of talking about tomorrow.
The Mary Donaldson is one of Canada's most prestigious lectures (and it comes with a hefty speaking fee -- woot!), and I'm totally honoured and thrilled to have been asked to present this year's talk.

Although some of the names below may not mean much to non-Canadians, the previous presenters have been a veritable Who's Who of Canadian arts and culture, and I'm absolutely delighted to be included in their number. (Stephen Lewis, who gave the 1990 lecture, is a particular hero of mine, and in my novel Flashforward I made him UN Secretary General; broadcaster Adrienne Clarkson went on to really be Canada's Governor General; and it's Pierre Berton's house I'm going to for my writing retreat this summer).

Here's the full list of presenters of the Mary Donaldson Memorial Lecture.

1968: Mary E. P. Henderson: "Planning the Future by the Past"

1969: Frederick G. B. Hutchings: "The Impact of William Morris"

1970: Alberta Letts: "Provincial Library Service -- Today and Tomorrow"

1971: Lura G. Currier: "The Librarian in the Political Arena"

1972: Richard Blackwell: "A British Beaver's Eye View of the Book Trade"

1973: Carlyle King: "Far Horizons, Man Alone: Landscape and Man in Saskatchewan Writing"

1974: Allan R. Turner: "Bearing on the History of Saskatchewan"

1975: Roy B. Stokes: "I Had Forgotten About the Wind"

1976: A.L. Karras: "After Publication -- Reaction"

1977: Bede Hubbard: "The Humanist Imperative"

1978: Marion E. Gilroy: "Pioneers! O Pioneers! The Genesis of Regional Libraries"

1979: Eli Mandel: "Culture and Literacy: Contemporary and Canadian Writing"

1980: Donald C. Kerr: "Moving Pictures, the Great Dream"

1981: Andreas Schroeder: "Compensation for Authors, or the Search for the Elusive Red Jellybean"

1982: Frances Morrison: "Saskatchewan Libraries: Remembering Dreams and Recalling the Past"

1983: Patrick Lane: "The Liberal Vision and the Death of Culture"

1984: Emma LaRocque: "Three Conventional Approaches to Native People in Society and in Literature"

1985: John Sawatsky: "Librarians as Investigative Journalists"

1986: John Gray: "Learning to be Dull: the Canadian Cultural Experience"

1987: Adrienne Clarkson: "Canada: a Possible Vision"

1988: Mel Hurtig: "Speech on Free Trade":

1989: Wes Fine Day: "Education"

1990: Stephen Lewis: "The Struggle for Literacy Abroad and at Home"

1991: Pierre Berton: "Writing Narrative History"

1992: Barbara Clubb: "Discovering That Immeasurable Quality"

1993: Jean Dirksen: "The Joy of Empowerment: Library Leadership for The '90's

1994: Janet Lunn: "The Power of Story"

1995: Bill Richardson: "Truth be told: Coming Out as a Writer"

1996: Ben Wicks: "Caring in a Technological Age"

1997: Sharon Butala: "Lost in Cyberspace"

1998: Don Ching: "Public Enterprise in Saskatchewan: The
Ties that Bind"

1999: Mark Kingwell: "Storage/Retrieval"

2000: Roy Bonisteel: "Read Any Good Web Lately?"

2001: Roch Carrier: "The National Library of Canada: tradition in the new millennium"

2002: Glen Sorestad: "The Opening of Doors"

2003: Gail Bowen: "Ruth Rendell and Me"

2004: Tim Wynne-Jones: "This Place Is Totally ... This Place, Libraries: Real Community In A Virtual World."

2005: Arthur Black: "The Wit and Whimsy of Arthur Black"

2006: Dan Yashinsky: "Suddenly They Heard Footsteps: why we listen to told stories"

2007: Robert J. Sawyer: "Science Fiction as a Mirror for Reality"

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At May 04, 2007 12:38 AM , Blogger Spazzcat said...

just wanted to say that I greatly enjoyed your presentation here in Saskatoon.
Also, I recently read Iterations for the first time, and I'd have to say that my favorite part by far was: If I'm here, Imagine Where They Sent My Luggage. That one made me burst out laughing everytime.
Anyway, keep up the good work! I'll be reading Rolback as soon as I have some free time.

At June 21, 2007 11:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to leave our thanks to you for such a wonderful talk. On behalf of the Saskatchewan Library Association, I would like to add that you deserve your spot with these other fine lecturers that we have had over the years. Your lecture was mentioned as a high point for the conference.

Thanks again - Amy Rankin


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