Author Richard Wagamese

Author Richard Wagamese set to visit Smithers

Richard Wagamese, the acclaimed author of Indian Horse and Medicine Walk, will speak to an audience at the Roi Theatre on Feb. 12.

Storytelling can be as simple as turning off the television, sitting down at the dinner table and telling someone about your day.

That’s the belief of Richard Wagamese, the critically-acclaimed Canadian author of novels including Indian Horse and Medicine Walk.

“When you ask somebody a question, the subtext of whatever the question is that you’re asking that person is ‘tell me a story’,” he said.

“We take the word and the idea of storytelling for granted largely not recognizing how much of a part it actually plays in our lives.”

The power of storytelling in our daily lives, and the importance of conversation in an age of digital distraction, are topics the novelist plans to discuss during an upcoming visit to Smithers.

Wagamese, who is also an award-winning newspaper columnist, is being brought to the region by the Bulkley Valley School District, Embrace B.C., the Smithers Bridging Committee and the Smithers Public Library.

The author will speak to young people in school groups about his writing, but adult readers can also hear him speak at a public presentation at the Roi Theatre on Feb. 12.

An Ojibway man who is originally from northern Ontario, Wagamese writes fiction that brings to the fore issues affecting First Nations people.

The impacts of residential schools and displaced families are some of the topics explored in his writing.

Now based in Kamloops, the author said when he writes, he thinks about writing for a person who is exactly like he was at a certain time in his life.

“I always think that there is a young person out there who is really, really struggling to try and get hold of a sense of themselves, to find out who they are, what their identity is and what they want to do in the world,” he said.

“The stories that I write are kind of directed to that phantom person that I don’t know but I always write to somebody that I suspect is just like me, just like I was.

“I want to give them a story that is entertaining, that’s enriching, that’s empowering and that has a good, solid message to it in the long run.”

When Wagamese speaks to local students this month, the author plans to walk them through his creative process.

He said young people were usually interested in his own journey to becoming a professional writer.

“I use my own life as an example of how you can imagine yourself to be somewhere that maybe you’ve never even considered before, but by imagining yourself being there you can imagine yourself doing what it takes to get there,” he said.

“Reading especially has really empowered me because I’ve only ever completed Grade 9 education and I’ve been able to do all these things in my professional career despite that.

“The reason is because of a love and a passion for reading and for language.”

An extension of that passion is his belief in the importance of storytelling in our daily lives.

He said distractions in the form of technology were getting in the way of conversation, subsequently silencing the stories he said were needed in healthy homes and communities.

“Those are all stories.

“We forget that and we need to hear those things from each other, especially in our homes and in our communities.”

Bulkley Valley School District Aboriginal Student Services principal Birdy Markert said Wagamese would be an inspiration to the school’s students.

“Through his writing you can see that he has struggled with some various issues himself and I think it’s important for students to see, here is a fellow who has struggled with different issues in his life,” Markert said.

“Still, he’s able to weave beautiful pictures together with words and draw us into his material.”

Wagamese’s public presentation will be at the Roi Theatre from 5–7 p.m. on Feb. 12.


Just Posted

Ramona Wilson Memorial Walk: Twenty-five years, but still no closure

“What we’re standing for today is that nobody is going to sweep this under the rug, nobody.”

Muheim class repeats 2017 award for interaction with seniors

Liliana Pesce’s Grade 4-5 class honoured by BC Retired Teachers Association

Bulkley Valley U14 boys soccer squad wins zones

The Rapids will now proceed to provincial championship in Prince George July 4-5

Donaldson announces seal coating for portions of Hwy 16, Kispiox

Two sections of road in the Bulkley Valley have had their fate sealed.

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read