English professor Aritha van Herk's Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of
Alberta is the book you'll most likely see Calgarians reading over the next
The Calgary Public Library has chosen van Herk's irreverent and
relevant history of Alberta as the inaugural One Book, One Calgary—an initiative
that aims to have the entire city reading the same book. The library will invite
Calgarians to read Mavericks this November and to participate in discussions
about our history, our present and the future potential of our city.
is a daunting task to choose an initial book to launch a program to mobilize and
engage a city," says Gerry Meek, CEO, Calgary Public Library. "We feel we have
found the perfect fit in local author Aritha van Herk and her book, Mavericks:
An Incorrigible History of Alberta. In Aritha we have found someone who is truly
passionate about our city and province."
Researched and written over
three years, Mavericks tells the history of Alberta through the lives of the
industrious and intrepid characters who shaped our province. Published in 2001,
Mavericks won the Grant MacEwan Author's Award for Alberta Writing and inspired
the permanent exhibition of the same title, which opened at the Glenbow Museum
"Through writing Mavericks, I have learned that we live within
some of the most interesting, unpredictable, and howlingly funny stories
possible," says van Herk, a professor of Canadian literature and creative
writing in the U of C's English department. "If I can draw people's attention to
those stories, then my work is satisfying."
In November, the Calgary
Public Library will present over 30 One Book, One Calgary programs at 17
community branch libraries. van Herk will lead several of the events, including
author readings, community discussions and writing workshops, and is looking
forward to engaging Calgarians on the city's past, present and future.
"I've had the greatest fun with people's reactions when they hear about
the library's initiative," exclaims van Herk. "Both new and old Calgarians are
curious about why we follow the traditions and habits that we do follow, and
what in the past has brought about change. Our chameleonic character is one
fascinating aspect of our city's ambiance—the way that we change our minds, or
turn our faces into that surprising Chinook wind. Some people have already taken
up the argument that we are lemmings more than mavericks here in Alberta, that
we behave predictably, always vote the same way, and don't really look down the
road to the future. But the recent civic election suggests the exact opposite.
If we see an opportunity, Calgarians will embrace change, and look in a new
direction. It's impossible to predict when or how that will happen."
Book, One Calgary will kick off with van Herk and an all-star lineup of
homegrown Calgary talent and celebrities on Thursday,
Nov. 4 at
7 p.m. in the John Dutton Theatre, Central Library.
more information about One Book, One Calgary and a schedule of events, visit www.calgarypubliclibrary.com/onebookonecalgary.