Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Valuing Our Labour: Every job matters

…was the name of my closing presentation last week at the BC Nurses Union Human Rights & Equity conference, which was ironically held at the Hyatt — a company I once had the most dreadful labour related experience with. Oh how the turnstile rotates. I had forgotten this until I began typing this post.

The invitation to talk at the BCNU conference was a personal milestone that I am both grateful for and very proud of. I loved talking about this topic which means so much to me and I was able to talk about the labour of Malarky and our project Rereading the Riot Act and my own history with labour, growing up under Thatcher etc. I ended my hour presentation with readings from Malarky.  Thank you to all the nurses who responded so warmly to it. There was much laughter in that room.

It was very invigorating to meet nurses from all over BC. Many were there from Thompson-River (does that sound right?) a place I had heard of from the weather map during the weather forecast. Another nurse was from Fort St John and we had a lovely exchange about his work there. I asked some of them while book signing about the worst challenges of their jobs and they replied that staffing cuts and insufficient staffing numbers were very hard.

There were other speakers at the conference like Lee Maracle and other activists. I wasn’t able to hear any of the presentations unfortunately due to my own work pressures, but the summary of the day by Deborah was inspiring to listen to. Afterwards I thought of the proximity of nurses coming together to discuss ideas and to share dialogue about how they can become activists in their communities and the interrogation that goes into a piece of fiction, especially thinking along the lines of form. It made me recognize we are not so far apart because we are looking for new ideas, new ways of seeing, new ways of reading situations or other ways of thinking.

I must prepare more talks. I love public speaking. Roll up. Roll up.


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