As the writer/artist in residency comes to an end at the Alex Robertson Public Library, Miriam Körner believes she learned just as much from the participants as they learned from her.
“In the end, I think it was a big gift to me,” she said. “The biggest surprise was we started out at the beginning of the year with a partnership with the La Ronge Arts Council on a series called Reconciliation Through Art, and I think that became the guiding part of the residency.”
Körner noted it was a “real eye opener” to explore with community members about what reconciliation means and how they could contribute to the cause. A highlight of the residency for Körner, she added, was a trip along the Churchill River in the summer. Elders were invited to share their stories about the river and other topics, and the group was able to converse as well about what reconciliation means to them.
As the writer/artist in residency began in January, Körner was able to use 50 per cent of the allotted time to work on her own project. While the first draft of her novel called Qaqavii was already written, Körner was able to complete several edits and it will be published in spring 2019. She said the young adult novel is about a young girl who moves to Churchill, Manitoba with her mother and doesn’t want to be there. She then makes a friend and learns about dog sledding, but also about some of the controversial incidents in Canada’s history.
“She wants to learn how the people lived before Europeans came, so she learns about the relocations in the Arctic and what europeans had done since their arrival here,” Körner said.
To celebrate the end of the residency, the public is invited to an event at the library tonight (Nov. 30) at 7 p.m. It will honour the work Körner completed throughout the year, but also feature readings by local authors included in a new anthology book of writing and visual art called Northern Voices. An art project with nine squares will also be unveiled at the event.
“Those stories are varied and have different perspectives of people who live in the North,” she said. “I think those stories are a really big part of getting to understand each other.”
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