Joseph Boyden will not give a keynote address scheduled before the APTN investigation into his indigenous roots, and the subsequent aftermath.
Tied to the country’s sesquicentennial, the Restorying Canada conference, which takes place May 1–4 at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies, examines religion and public memory in the “aftermath of the landmark Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” According to Emma Anderson, event co-organizer and institute director, Boyden chose to cancel his appearance. Other authors delivering keynotes include Margaret Atwood, Zarqa Nawaz, and George Elliott Clarke.
Boyden’s scheduled talk, “The Past and the Future are the Present,” is a reference to the last sentence of his novel The Orenda (Hamish Hamilton), and, according to the conference website, how “the theme of timelessness, repetition and circularity is integral to his work: representing the often vicious cycle experienced by indigenous Canadians enduring colonization from the seventeenth century to the present.” The talk was referred to as “the ideal opening keynote for a conference exploring religion, memory, history, and the radical possibilities of “re-storying” Canada in the aftermath of the TRC, and during this sesquicentennial year.”
Boyden is also listed as part of the lineup for World Literacy Canada’s Kama Reading Series on March 29, along with Atwood and Jen Sookfong Lee.