Vernon singer-songwriter-author-educator John Lent will be joining me on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC to help me launch my new collection of selected essays and interviews 1994-2014, If You’re Not Free at Work, Where Are You Free? Literature and Social Change (Guernica Editions).

May 1 was chosen because the date marks 34 years since the closure of Nelson’s David Thompson University Centre, where I taught 1980-82. One of the essays in If You’re Not Free at Work considers Nelson’s dogged determination to have its own postsecondary institution, despite the 1977 closure of Notre Dame University and the 1984 closure of DTUC. The latter opened in 1979 because of the town’s outrage at the government’s decision to shut NDU. Nelson’s present Kootenay School of the Arts in turn grew out of the closure of DTUC and began in 1991 as Canada’s first-ever municipal postsecondary institution.

John, a former instructor at Notre Dame University, will be providing music as well as a reading from some of his own works (Thistledown Press is bringing out his latest book of poems, A Matins Flywheel, in 2019). I’ll be reading some passages from the new essay collection.