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Around Town: University gets it Write On

UVic celebrates its many writers, past and present, as part of IdeaFest

Is there anything University of Victoria authors haven’t written about?

That question was on many minds Thursday night at the UVic Bookstore. The occasion was Celebrating UVic Authors, a reception that recognized scholarly publishing by faculty, staff, students, alumni and retirees as part of IdeaFest.

The event, hosted by UVic provost Reeta Tremblay and emceed by Peter Keller, dean of social sciences, included readings and question-and-answer sessions with authors John Langford (A Cold War Tourist and His Camera), Jan Zwicky (Book of Frog), Magdalena Kay (In Gratitude for all the Gifts) and Arthur Kroker (Body Drift: Butler, Hayles, Haraway).

They’re among nearly 400 books published since 2007 on topics that reflect the breadth and diversity of research, teaching and the personal and professional interests of UVic authors, said Susan Henderson, communications officer for the event co-sponsored by UVic Libraries and the UVic Bookstore.

Literature, art, music, poetry, history, law, medicine, natural history and economics are just a few of the featured disciplines.

When the authors celebration originated, it focused on current UVic authors, but expanded in its second year to focus on alumni as well.

Most of the works, which now include authored, edited and translated works, artwork and music scores, have undergone some sort of peer review, said Inba Kehoe, UVic’s scholarly communications librarian.

“We had been looking for ways to promote and highlight faculty research,” Kehoe recalled. “We pulled the bookstore in as a partner because, obviously, the bookstore sells books. We buy a copy from anybody who submits a title for the collection.”

One consistent contributor is writer and digital artist Bill Zuk, who also exhibits at Maltwood and Legacy galleries.

“I brought Magic Migration because it deals with survival and the migration of people from the North,” said the professor emeritus as he displayed a striking art piece inspired by his experiences living in the Arctic and recently seen at National Art Education Association’s juried art exhibition in New York.

“It’s from my special project Into the Ice. It’s really connected to changes in the Arctic.”

Langford said it was great getting back in front of people since he’s been teaching online for years.

“We’ve had students who’ve graduated and never come to the university,” joked the professor in UVic’s School of Public Administration. “They’re in their pyjamas and I’m in mine.”

Not that the political scientist was remotely nervous reading from the book he wrote with his sister Martha, an art historian. It focuses on Cold War-era politics through photographs taken by their father, an air force veteran and public servant.

“Oh, no, I’m a professor, so I’ve done a lot of lecturing in my life,” he smiled. “I’ve done giant theatres at York University.”

Zwicky said getting to share her work publicly is “what it’s all about for me.

“I do appreciate the opportunity because I compose really orally, and hearing my words out there and seeing them being responded to is wonderful,” said the Canadian poet and philosopher.


IdeaFest continues at UVic until Friday. For a schedule of events, go to