Knox Presbyterian Church120 Lisgar Street (at Elgin)

To Thine Own Self Be True:
Michael Winter and Joseph Boyden

Hosted by the National Post’s Mark Medley
"[Winter] is a writer who dangles the delicate bait because he knows we will take it, then sets the hook and reels us in hard. And when he has us in his boat, all we can do is stare up at him, gasping, not sure if he'll club or release us. And frankly, as readers, we don't care. We're thrilled, simply, to be along with him for the ride.
— Joseph Boyden
Joseph Boyden
Michael Winter - Photo courtesy of Rogatien Piano

Two remarkable writers return to the Festival stage with new novels from Hamish Hamilton Canada that examine the tension between the needs of the individual and the demands of the cultures they inhabit. Join us for a short taste of each novel and a conversation on the evolution of their writing lives and the inspiration and process involved in their acclaimed work.


Henry Hayward, the protagonist in Michael Winter’s Minister Without Portfolio, is a drowning man. With a soured long-term romance finally at an end, no family, and no refuge to be had in work, he progressively spends his days in the solace of alcohol and his nights with a series of interchangeable partners. In a quest to simultaneously recover from unrequited love and to find meaning in what is becoming an increasingly emotionally arid life, Henry travels to Afghanistan as an army-affiliated contractor.


A visceral portrait of life at a crossroads, The Orenda , by Giller Prize Winner Joseph Boyden , opens with a brutal massacre and the kidnapping of the young Iroquois Snow Falls, a spirited girl with a special gift. Her captor, Bird, is an elder and one of the Huron Nation's great warriors and statesmen. It has been years since the murder of his family and yet they are never far from his mind. In Snow Falls, Bird recognizes the ghost of his lost daughter and sees the girl possesses powerful magic that will be useful to him on the troubled road ahead. Bird’s people have battled the Iroquois for as long as he can remember, but both tribes now face a new, more dangerous threat from afar. Christophe, a charismatic Jesuit missionary, has found his calling amongst the Huron and devotes himself to learning and understanding their customs and language in order to lead them to Christ. An emissary from distant lands, he brings much more than his faith to the new world. As these three souls dance each other through intricately woven acts of duplicity, small battles erupt into bigger wars and a nation emerges from worlds in flux.


Books by participating authors available on-site. A booksigning will follow each event.


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