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Esther Birney Series on Zoom Winter 2021 Topics

Thursday, January 14, 2021, 10:30 AM until 12:00 PM
Additional Info:
Registration is closed - Event is full
Payment In Full In Advance Only
Join us for this well-curated literary arts series including intriguing topics given by knowledgeable presenters. (See below for a complete list of topics and information about using Zoom.)

Registration on this page has been suspended. If you are a current member and would like to join this series, please register by contacting BevAnn directly at Thank you.
Available Slots:
No Fee
No Fee
Note: If you don't have access to the Zoom application on a computer, tablet or smart phone, Zoom presentations are also available by dialing in using a landline or cellphone. On the day and time of the course, call 778-907-2071 (within Metro Vancouver) and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode that were given after registering for the course. If you live outside of metro Vancouver, please look up the local phone number for your locationat (The calls are muted when you join the meeting, to unmute yourself, please press *6 (as per instructions on the phone). 

Did you want to join this series at Brock House instead? You must register for each of the upcoming topics. If you are interested, please call the office at 604-228-1461. Thank you. Please go to the In House Programs page to view what's available in person at Brock House.

Upcoming topics:

  • January 14 – "She Sells Sea Shells"  with Sarah Rodgers

The United Players of Vancouver (Jericho Arts Centre) are proud to present this play by Helen Eastman in its North American première (January 22 – February 14, 2021).

Director Sarah Rogers will talk to us about the production centred around the English collector and dealer, Mary Anning, “who discovered the first ichthyosaur, and…became an important, if forgotten, paleontologist. Known primarily from the children’s tongue-twister that she inspired, Anning’s life challenges us to see the beauty buried in the stones beneath our feet.” - UP


  • January 21 - "Food Floor: My Woodward's Days" withMargaret Cadwaladr

“In her third book, Food Floor: My Woodward’s Days Margaret Cadwaladr recounts working as a grocery cashier at Woodward’s Food Floor in Vancouver in the 1960s. The department store had been a Vancouver landmark for over a hundred years when it closed in 1993. Woodward’s also had stores in other parts of B.C. and Alberta before its operations were sold to the Hudson’s Bay Company and its name was confined to retail history.


“’During the completion of the book, COVID-19 enveloped the world and shone a light on the important role of the grocery store clerks and cashiers,” says Cadwaladr. “The book is dedicated to their courage and hard work.’” – BC Booklook

  • January 28A Bounded Land with Dr. Cole Harris

“In this beautifully crafted and written volume, Canada’s preeminent historical geographer traces how Canada’s geographical limitations have shaped the nature of its settler societies – from first contacts, to dispossession, to our current age of reconciliation.” – UBCPress

Dr. Harris is a professor emeritus, UBC. His Research interests focus on European settlement in early Canada and on geographies of colonialism in early British Columbia.

: Order of Canada; Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada; LL.D. honoris causa, York University

  • February 4 – "Walking with Ghosts in Papua New Guinea" with Rick Antonson

Rick Antonson has addressed our Brock House members about his books Route 66 Still Kicks and To Timbuktu for a Haircut as well as Slumach’s Gold: In Search of a Legend. In those days he also talked about his role as president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver, a position he left in 2014 to become a full-time author.


He’s travelled to many places most of us would see as difficult destinations, such as joining an expedition to the summit of Mount Ararat, and on into Iraq and Iran and Armenia (which were captured in his book Full Moon Over Noah’s Ark; An Odyssey to Mount Ararat and Beyond). He’s ventured to places such as North Korea and Belarus. So it won’t surprise you that his most recent book is titled: Walking With Ghosts in Papua New Guinea – Crossing the Kokoda Trail in the Last Wild Place on Earth.


We’ve invited Rick to talk with us a bit about the writer’s life, and about the importance of travel, and, of course, about the adventures and challenges recounted in his latest book. And we’ll save time for Q & A at the end.

  • February 11 – Modernity and “Miss Julie" with Dr.Peter Stenberg


As a precursor to the viewing of the film next week (February 18), Dr. Stenberg will discuss the play by August Strindberg.


Dr. Stenberg is a professor emeritus, UBC, and a former Head of the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies. His research focused on literary versions of the Holocaust, nineteenth and twentieth-century Austrian theatre, Romanian-German literature, and the relationship between Scandinavian and German writers at the turn of the last century.



  • February 18 - Movie - Miss Julie (1951, 90 minutes, subtitles) **10:00 a.m. start**

A Swedish drama based on the play of the same name by August Strindberg and winner of the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival. The film deals with class, sex and power as the title character, the daughter of a Count in 19th century Sweden, begins a relationship with one of the estate's servants.

  • February 25 - TBA

  • March 4   “Spirit We Live By: Virginia Woolf and the Emergence of the Deep Self"  with Glenn Deefholts

This talk is framed by a question: is the predominant way that we think about ourselves one that formed around 1910, when, Virginia Woolf said, human character changed? 


Bio: Glenn Deefholts teaches English at Langara College.  In a previous lifetime, he was a tennis instructor for two summers. He currently enjoys making music with friends. This summer, he published two books: Only So Many Breaths: Selected Poems 1995 - 2015 and Genderfluid: A Way of Being." 


  • March 11 "Exploring Weird Literature: Embracing the Unfamiliar" with Ameena Mayer

In this lecture, we will explore how the bizarre creatures of weird fiction bend reality in exciting and frightening ways. In particular, we will discover how the weird blurs the boundaries between the familiar and the unfamiliar. How does the weird expand our perceptions of ourselves and others? How can the weird lead us to embrace that which is different?  

Bio: Ameena Mayer has been an instructor in the English Department at Langara College for 14 years. She has always had a special fondness for imaginative literature and is currently working on a science fiction novel that incorporates elements of the weird.  

  • March 18 – Decolonizing the Classroom, The Heart, The Mind: Learning Through Memoir with Jill Goldberg 

Jill Goldberg will discuss the idea of decolonization as it pertains to learning and to the way we understand what it means to live here on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Territory. By sharing details of her Writing Lives class in which students interview Elders who survived residential schools, ultimately writing their memoirs, Jill will attempt to shed light on what ordinary citizens can do to engage in the process of reconciliation in British Columbia and Canada.

Bio: Jill Goldberg teaches creative writing and literature at Langara college and she is a writer and film producer. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. In pre-pandemic times, she was an avid tango dancer and has high hopes those days may return.  

  • March 25 - TBA
  • April 1- TBA
  • April 8- TBA
  • April 15- TBA
  • April 22- TBA
  • April 29- TBA
  • May 6- TBA
  • May 13- TBA
  • May 20- TBA