Reading Non-Fiction

students reading books

Where: AWCS* facilities (Room 460) at CSpace, 1721 29 Avenue SW
Alexandra Writer's Centre Society

Time: 1:00 - 3:00 PM

When: Six Consecutive Thursdays
April 13
April 20
April 27
May 4
May 11
May 18

Our goal is to have good discussions of several significant non-fiction works. At each meeting, we will consider assigned chunks of a recent non-fiction work, providing a thoughtful space for exploration of a work that addresses topical and wide-ranging issues. We begin with J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (2016). Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir of a Kentucky man who proceeds from a context of violence and despair to the U.S. Marines and, eventually, Yale Law School. A central issue emerging from his work is that of social class.

We continue with Justine van der Leun’s We Are Not Such Things: The Murder of a Young American, a South African Township and the Search for Truth and Reconciliation (2016). This book explores a celebrated case of forgiveness in 1990s South Africa. The mysteries investigated by the author raise important questions about individual and collective responsibility on the one hand and a politically exalted forgiveness of serious wrongs on the other.

We will focus on evidence, arguments and conclusions as well as the rhetorical strategies employed by the authors. More generally, we may consider the nature of the non-fiction genre itself. Members of the group will read the selected chunks for each session with a view to discussion and assessment.

Minimum: six.
Maximum: fifteen
Facilitators: Tamara Seiler and Trudy Govier
To sign up, email *

Tamara Seiler retired from the University of Calgary in 2010. She taught classes in Canadian Studies, cultural history and communications. In addition to many articles, her published works include Alberta A New History, The Wild Rose Anthology of Alberta Prose, and Reel Time: Movie Exhibitors and Movie Audiences in Prairie Canada 1896-1986. She has co-facilitated other CALL groups and served in a number of administrative positions for CALL.

Trudy Govier retired from the University of Lethbridge in 2012. She taught philosophy, focussing on social philosophy and critical thinking. In mid-career, Trudy led a small peace studies program at the University of Calgary. She has facilitated several CALL groups on philosophical topics and issues. Her published works include Forgiveness and Revenge, Socrates’ Children, and A Practical Study of Argument.

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