Madeleine Thien’s Trial By Fire

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“I wondered how a person earned both forgiveness and a paycheque in these complicated times…When my sister moved on to high school, I continued at Strathcona Elementary, walking in loops through Chinatown and the DTES, past the crumpled men and wizened women living in the streets and alleyways. It was as if they, and we, had all been collected here, and we were parts of the same branch. I, too, spoke to myself and to imaginary people. I, too, was hungry and longed for things I could not obtain. “

Madeleine Thien’s deeply moving story, “The Fire Before,” describes how she found her “spiritual core” while growing up in Strathcona, Vancouver, and is part of the anthology V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Writers Read Concordia

The tradition of literary readings at Concordia predates the existence of the university itself, as such events were held well before Sir George Williams and Loyola merged in 1974. The series, now known as Writers Read at Concordia, invites renowned and emerging authors, both Canadian and international, to read from and discuss their work with students and local audiences. In addition to readings, the series includes Master Classes and professional development activities, some open to the public and others only for Concordia students. Collaborations with Concordia’s School of Canadian Irish Studies, The Pilot, the Atwater Poetry Project, Bishop’s University, the Université de Montreal’s Department of English, and other organizations make the series possible. The Concordia Bookstore acts as bookseller for all major readings. Another activity offered in affiliation with the Concordia English Department, the Summer Literary Seminars is held annually in Montreal, Kenya, and Lithuania. As one of the world's largest and most innovative international writing programs, SLS offers partial scholarships and academic credit to full-time Concordia students. The program brings together the finest American, Canadian, European, and African writers and literary scholars with their host counterparts in a two-week flurry of writing related activities. Faculty have included such writers as: Amy Bloom, Robert Coover, Dave Eggers, Ed Hirsch, Denis Johnson, Colum McCann, Jayne Anne Phillips and George Saunders. Registration is required. Additional tuition subsidies are available through the Dean's office. For more information, contact Mike Spry. Writers Read at Concordia is supported by the Department of English, the Creative Writing Program, and Concordia University. The Writers Read Series also receives funding assistance from the Faculty of Arts and Science.

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