Quick Links & Popular Tools

Menu

Huron1Read Capstone Event with Thomas King

January 12, 2017
After a semester of events and discussion in and outside the classroom, the Huron1Read capstone event—a Q&A with Thomas King—afforded the Huron and broader Western community with a meaningful afternoon of dialogue and engagement.
 
Prior to afternoon Q&A, Mr. King sat down with more than 40 local high school students (many of whom self-identified as Indigenous), from H.B. Beal Secondary School, Saunders Secondary School, and Strathroy District Collegiate Institute. The informal discussion took place in the Great Hall and allowed students to learn more about the ins and outs of a writing career, what led Mr. King to take up writing, and his love of reading. Following the discussion, the students, a selection of Huron staff and faculty, Mr. King and his partner Helen, shared lunch.

Thomas King’s The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative was incorporated into a number of first-year classes at Huron and the level of engagement, and widespread popularity of the author, were clear. The Kingsmill Room was at capacity and the energy was buzzing.

The Q&A opened with a powerful ceremony, led by local Indigenous elders and educators Dan and Mary Lou Smoke. Following introductions from Associate Librarian Colleen Burgess, Director of Library & Learning Services Melanie Mills, and Huron Principal Dr. Barry Craig, several students asked previously submitted questions. The students, all of whom had read The Truth About Stories for their classes, delved into topics including representation of Indigenous persons in historical texts, reconciliation, Mr. King’s intent when writing, and the value of Indigenous knowledge.

Other members of the audience also posed questions, ranging from Mr. King’s favourite word (it’s and, by the way), to storytelling and representation of Indigenous culture, Canadian politics, to the role of Coyote in Mr. King’s short stories and novels. Mr. King provided thoughtful answers and well-timed jokes, managing to blend his trademark humour and capacity for storytelling with profound insights. The audience was rapt throughout the two hours.

Highlights from the day include the following quotes:
“Literature brightened my life.”
“Good writing means you have to be willing to make each character vulnerable, no matter how much you like them.”
“Writing means re-writing…again, and again, and again.”
“If you want to be a good writer, read good writers.”
“I take a person’s actions seriously. What you do is who you are.”
“An interdisciplinary life is a fun life. Why wouldn’t you jump into a new experience? Attempting something new, looking at something new makes you a more interesting person.”

Sincere thanks to the Huron1Read committee for working so hard to make this day a success. This event was generously supported by Doug Raymond, BA 1985.