Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Crossings merci

I’ve received three lovely messages from people who attended the Betty Lambert event. Thank you so much to the women who wrote to me. Especially to the woman who couldn’t make it to the event because she was ill, but looked me up and sought out Betty’s plays and Crossings and took the time to write and tell me of her experience with the work.

“…wanted to thank you anyway for bringing Lambert’s work to my attention. I read a couple of her plays with much interest and am almost finished Crossings. I find this author’s voice to be engagingly authentic and her subject matter disturbing yet pertinent in light of the ‘woman’ question.”

I did make a blog to post responses to Crossings from readers, but I have manage to forget what I called it. It will come back to me.

Crossings: a return Dec 1, 2010

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the event I organized last night at the Vancouver Public Library, Crossings: a return.

I’m extremely grateful to the readers Julie Okot Bitek, Annabel Lyon, Claudia Casper, Renee Rodin, Lori Weidenhammer for their support and enthusiasm in this ongoing adventure of ours, their contributions were so thoughtful, considered, and engaging, alongside beautifully delivered readings from the novel and one of Betty’s plays

We were honoured to have Betty Lambert’s family at the event and a special thank you to Betty’s daughter Ruth-Ann Lambert and Betty’s sister Dorothy who (impromptu) shared such moving stories about Betty.

When I conceived of this event I could never have imagined what took place.  I continue to be struck by how the dynamic of multiple writers engaging, considering and reading from the same book affords us a rich and fruitful engagement with the text. Last night’s event was about the reading of literature, it sprung from the absent minded grab of a book on the Reference shelf on the first floor of VPL, back whenever it was (likely recorded on this blog) and to have my enthusiasm for the book translate into what took place and was shared last night was so uplifting and I am v grateful to everyone who came out to the event.

Crossings is an astonishing novel, I hope readers discover it or rediscover it and I hope it’s returned to print shortly whether digital or paper.

Event…Crossings: a return

Come on out people and embrace/re-embrace/ discover/celebrate your literature

Click to enlarge for event details.

Just been doing a bit o research into UBC Special Collections Pulp Press fonds, hunting for reviews and stuff related to Betty Lambert’s novel Crossings for our Dec. 1 upcoming event. I trawled a lengthy list of the box descriptions and noted that the kinds of materials or materials recorded on may no longer exist in the current day. All future fonds may be more digital and possibly easier on the back stacking and storing them.

My partner and I had an interesting conversation about a month back where he was describing the graphic difference in old BC Tel bills from 10-16 years ago, even the paper was different. I have an old Work Safe BC pamphlet book I picked up some place discarded, it’s probably from the late 70’s early 80’s. Each time I go to chuck it out I resist simply because of the colour palatte they choose and the bulgy almost bubble shaped lettering and the fudged in features of everybody. Everyone looks like they are on the same volleyball team regardless of their situation, or outfit or features. There’s a duplication between people and I think it’s because there’s nothing sharp about the photos.

One time a good friend and I were having another chat. He’d seen an old clip of a telly show in Ireland with a bunch of set dancers on it. The camera panned or somehow took in the audience clapping. He was astonished. What was it? Says he. Ah ha. Everyone had dark hair, there were no blonde people! I guess this was pre the highlight era.

Read opening bits of Manfacturing Consent, found handy-dandy as ever on the side of the road. Side of road is providing amply these days. After I read the first few paras was left with this daunting sense of Manfacturing Content and what have I manufactured myself… far too much attention on male writers!

It is a source of national shame that Helen Potrebenko’s Sometimes They Sang is out of print and remains so. It should also be a source of major feminist agitation! An agitation that would heave it back onto the page! Someday I will be in position I hope to do something about it. This slim novel must be back in palms. It’s unique in it’s rural -urban considering and the woman is looking for a job. We live in a province with a turbulent labour history and where is it on the page? People are exasperated this very minute searching for jobs and they’ll search even harder in their fiction to find someone engaged in such a task.

Éilís Ní Dhuibhne is another writer whose work I should have written about.

Betty Lambert’s novel Crossings is another novel that should be revisited and I’d like to do an event that would bring some women together to revisit it and consider it today.

One of the challenges of writing such pieces is where to place them. It is becoming particularly woeful in Canada to find outlets.

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I am excited to be collaborating with a visual artist on a performance piece for the autumn. Today we had our first meeting to discuss ideas and it was an inspired and buzzing exchange.