Enbridge Presents

The Walrus Talks States of Mind at Blue Metropolis

Montreal 2 p.m. (ET), Saturday, May 3, 2014



  • History: Map or Trap? by George Elliott Clarke, poet and playwright
  • The Suspension of Disbelief by Lisa Moore, author
  • PTSS in Post-Communist Societies by Josip Novakovich, author
  • Regarding Unhappiness by Alix Ohlin, novelist
  • A Different Word for Everything by Al Rae, comedian
  • From the Inside Out: What I Would Say if I Had a Voice by Shelagh Rogers, broadcaster
  • The Closing Down of Personhood by Madeleine Thien, novelist
  • Longing by Zoe Whittall, poet and novelist

George Elliott Clarke is a poet and playwright whose work explores black Canadian communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. He received the City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, was made an officer of the Order of Canada, and became the fourth Poet Laureate of Toronto in 2012. His book Execution Poems won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry, and a collection devoted to his writing, Africadian Atlantic: Essays on George Elliott Clarke, received widespread critical recognition. He is currently an English professor at the University of Toronto.

Lisa Moore wrote two collections of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness and Open, and three novels, Alligator, February, and Caught. She edited The Penguin Book of Contemporary Canadian Women’s Short Stories and recently adapted February for the stage. Open and Alligator were shortlisted for the Giller Prize; Alligator also won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Canada and the Caribbean and was long-listed for the Orange Prize. February and Open were shortlisted for the Winterset Award; February was also long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and it won the 2013 CBC Canada Reads competition. Caught was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. In 2013, Lisa received the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for mid-career writers.

Josip Novakovich is a short story writer, novelist, and essayist who teaches creative writing at Concordia University. He was born in what is now Croatia and grew up under the authoritarian rule of Josip Broz Tito. He studied medicine in Serbia and then moved to America and continued his studies in psychology and creative writing. Josip has published a novel, April Fool’s Day; three short story collections, Yolk, Salvation and Other Disasters, and Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust; four collections of narrative essays; and two textbooks. He was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013.

Alix Ohlin’s novel Inside was a finalist for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She also wrote a previous novel, The Missing Person, and two short story collections, Signs and Wonders and Babylon and Other Stories. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and Best New American Voices and on public radio’s Selected Shorts. A native of Montreal, she lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, and teaches at Lafayette College.

Al Rae is a Winnipeg stand-up comic and comedy writer who won the Just for Laughs National Homegrown Comic Competition in 2000. Prior to joining the creative team behind Little Mosque on the Prairie, Al wrote for the sitcoms Blackfly and Big Sound. He hosted two comedy information shows for CBC Radio, That’s Capital, about finance, and Spinoff, a popular election satire show. His twenty-part comedy drama, Monsoon House, with Russell Peters, aired on CBC Radio in the fall of 2006. He won an Italian Prix Roma Screenwriting Prize and a Gemini Award for Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Shelagh Rogers is the host of CBC’s The Next Chapter and a prolific Canadian journalist who has worked on flagship programs such as Morningside, Sounds Like Canada, and This Morning. Shelagh holds honorary doctorates from the University of Western Ontario, Mount Allison University, and Memorial University. In September 2011, Shelagh was named an officer of the Order of Canada for promoting the country’s rich culture, for her volunteer work in adult literacy, and for fighting against the stigma of mental illness.

Madeleine Thien wrote three books of fiction, including a story collection, Simple Recipes, and her most recent novel, Dogs at the Perimeter, which explores the aftermath of the Cambodian civil war and genocide. She previously won the City of Vancouver Book Award, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and the Ovid Festival Prize, and was a finalist for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Kiriyama Prize, and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Her essays and fiction have appeared in the Guardian, Granta, PEN America, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Eighteen Bridges, and Brick. Madeleine is the 2013–14 writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University.

Zoe Whittall is a Canadian poet and novelist. She wrote the Lambda Literary Award–winning novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible as well as Bottle Rocket Hearts, which the Globe and Mail listed as one of the best books of 2007. It was later included in the CBCCanada Reads’ top ten novels of the decade. Her poetry books include The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life, The Emily Valentine Poems, and Precordial Thump.

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The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation as part of an educational mandate to provide forums for conversation on matters vital to Canadians. The Walrus Foundation produces The Walrus magazine, the most awarded publication in Canada, as well as producing content at thewalrus.ca, on Walrus TV, and on stages from coast to coast to coast.

The Walrus Talks format features eight speakers for seven minutes each on various themes relating to a single topic. Each event offers lively, thoughtful, inspiring, riveting, smart, new thinking from scientists, writers, performers, scholars, and leaders of business and the arts. Each Talks event is followed by a spirited reception with attendees and participants.

The Walrus Talks delivers fresh ideas and new ways of looking at big issues. The Walrus has no “wings.” Our speakers are chosen to reflect a range of experiences and viewpoints, but they all have one thing in common: the desire for real conversation about issues that affect the future of Canada. Our goal is for audience members to think “I never thought about it that way” when the Talks are over.

Dates, details, and ticket information are available at thewalrus.ca/events.