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Stories under a full moon

Richard Van Camp self imolate crop.jpg

By Caitlyn Spencer

The University of Alberta’s 2011-2012 Writer-in-Residence, Richard Van Camp, will be at the University of Calgary on March 8 for a night of story-telling under the full moon.

This won’t be Van Camp’s first time in Calgary: he spent grades 2, 3, and 12 in the city, and calls Calgary his city of ‘Almost.’ “Calgary is where my heart was born, where I almost lost my life to my appendix exploding inside of me — thank you, Calgary Children’s Hospital! — and where I almost learned how to kiss,” he says.

Among Van Camp’s accolades is the selection of his Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns for the Books for BC Babies program. In 2008, a copy of the book was given to every newborn in the province. Also notable is The Lesser Blessed, a novel populated by starkly rendered Northern teens that’s being made into a film, due for an early 2013 release.

Van Camp has been working on a new short story collection and two novel manuscripts during his residency at the U of A. “I’m so lucky because I write every day,” he says. “My new collection, Godless but Loyal to Heaven, is my sweet return to revisit characters who’ve won my heart and who I’ve won the trust of. I also get to introduce several new ones,” he adds. “Four Blankets Woman, a Dream Thrower from the future, and a new gladiator, Bear.”

Van Camp says his experience as the U of A’s Writer-in-Residence has given him a much-needed break from constant touring. “As a touring artist, I forgot how much I needed community,” he says. “I’m so proud of everyone who’s made their commitment to the craft of writing, and we have a lot of fun.”

About the March 8 gathering, he says, “We’ll be under a full moon, so anything can happen. I’ll probably read a love story and make fun of myself and, basically, get everyone laughing. I love to have everyone leave with full hearts and giggling the next morning, or so deeply moved they can’t talk until after their morning coffee or tea, or wondering about the stories I tell years later.”

Van Camp will be in the Gallery Hall in the Taylor Family Digital Library on March 8 from 7:30-9:30 pm. The event is free and open to all. More information.